SpaceX successfully completed its Transporter-9 mission on November 11, launching a “rideshare” flight that deployed 90 payloads into orbit. The mission began with the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base at 1:49 p.m. EST. Shortly after launching, the Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth for a vertical touchdown at Vandenberg. This particular booster has now been launched and landed 12 times.
The Transporter-9 mission carried a diverse set of payloads for various customers, including cubesats, microsats, and orbital transfer vehicles. These payloads will be deployed into low Earth orbit between 54 and 85.5 minutes after liftoff.
While 90 payloads may seem significant, it does not break any records. SpaceX’s previous Transporter-1 mission deployed 143 satellites to orbit in January 2021, and Transporter-6 launched with 114 satellites in January of this year.
In 2023, Transporter-9 marks the 82nd orbital mission for SpaceX, surpassing its previous record of 61 launches in 2022. The majority of this year’s missions have been focused on expanding Starlink, SpaceX’s internet megaconstellation, which currently consists of over 5,000 operational satellites.
Overall, the Transporter-9 mission demonstrates SpaceX’s continued efforts to provide affordable opportunities for small satellite launches. By offering “rideshare” flights, SpaceX enables numerous payloads to be sent into orbit, supporting the growing demand for space-based services and research.