JUN 14, 2020 5:11 AM PDT

SpaceX Launches First Rideshare Mission with Great Success

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

If you’ve been following SpaceX, then you’d know that the commercial space company has been launching quite a lot of Falcon 9 rockets recently. SpaceX made history when it launched American astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into space just a couple of weeks ago, and then followed up with a Starlink satellite launch a week later. Now just this weekend, the company launched another Falcon 9 into space.

This weekend’s Falcon 9 launch took place just yesterday, Saturday June 13th at approximately 5:21 A.M. Eastern time from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Despite the relatively moderate rain chances, the skies remained clear enough during the projected launch window and SpaceX flight control gave the green light for the launch.

So what was the Falcon 9 carrying into space this time? It was actually a somewhat important payload. In addition to carrying 58 additional Starlink satellites to bolster the company’s upcoming satellite internet network, the capsule had at least three SmallSats tucked away in its cargo hold for studying the Earth from above. That said, these three satellites shared a ride with SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, and so took part in the first of the company’s Rideshare Program launches.

With Rideshare, SmallSat companies can effectively save money on rocket launch costs by hitching rides with other planned launches. SpaceX just happened to have some extra room on its rocket this weekend, and a few SmallSat companies decided to cram their tech into the remaining crevices for a handsome discount. It could be the new way for SmallSat companies, as launching these tiny projects by their lonesome would be too costly to be worth it.

The Falcon 9 first stage that was used for this launch was refurbished and flew twice previously on resupply missions to the International Space Station. As you might come to expect from SpaceX, the company landed its first stage on droneship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ positioned in the Atlantic Ocean following the primary mission, allowing it to be captured for another round of refurbishment.

It will be interesting to see what other companies will participate in SpaceX’s Rideshare Program as the incentive to split the cost of expensive rocket fuel is certainly there.

Related: Here’s why SpaceX’s droneship footage often cuts out during rocket landings

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
AUG 31, 2020
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
If a star gets too close to a supermassive black hole, the forces exerted on the star tear it to shreds, generating a hu ...
SEP 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Reusable Chinese Space Craft Lands Returns Earth
SEP 08, 2020
Reusable Chinese Space Craft Lands Returns Earth
The Chinese government has announced the safe return of a reusable spacecraft, called Chongfu Shiyong Shiyan Hangtian Qi ...
SEP 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Something Unexpected Happens on Mars During Solar Eclipse
SEP 16, 2020
Something Unexpected Happens on Mars During Solar Eclipse
From data captured by NASA's InSight Mars Lander, researchers in Switzerland have found that Mars behaves differentl ...
OCT 10, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Imagining the sunspots of other solar systems
OCT 10, 2020
Imagining the sunspots of other solar systems
A recent study published in the Astrophysical Journal takes a new look at sunspots in order to understand stellar activi ...
NOV 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
China to Obtain First Lunar Samples Since 1976
NOV 26, 2020
China to Obtain First Lunar Samples Since 1976
On November 23, 2020, China launched its unmanned Chang'e-5 spacecraft on a mission to the Moon to bring fresh lunar ...
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Do Spiders Behave in Zero Gravity?
DEC 29, 2020
How Do Spiders Behave in Zero Gravity?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a treasure trove of scientific intrigue. But it's not just life-saving drug ...
Loading Comments...