SpaceX: The Falcon 9, rocket from the aerospace company SpaceX, was tasked with carrying 88 satellites into Earth orbit. The launch event took place this Wednesday (31) with take-off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, in Florida.
This was the second shared mission carried out by the company this year. In addition to Starlink satellites, devices from government and commercial customers—including NASA and the Finnish microsatellite company ICEYE—were placed into orbit.
SpaceX is known for carrying out shared missions that carry cargo and, recently, astronauts to orbit in Falcon 9 rockets. This year, the company began transporting small satellites from different customers.
The launch of smallsats (small satellites), as they are called in English, has registered growth in recent years. With different uses, the objects vary in size and can be smaller than a smartphone or as big as a home refrigerator.
However, the number of devices in orbit is increasing at considerable speed. In addition to causing “jams” and hitting space stations, astronomers attest that they hinder visibility in observatories on Earth.
Reusable Rocket Landing Test
The Falcon 9 mission also served as a test run for SpaceX landings. After takeoff, the first-stage rocket — the large underside that houses the engines for the initial thrust — landed vertically on a base on the ground.
This allows the parts to be restored and used in future missions. For example, the booster who acted in this Wednesday’s event has already been present in seven other releases.
SpaceX’s reuse strategy generates huge cost savings for the aerospace company. As well, the company headed by Elon Musk considers this the key to making spaceflight cheaper.