SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites to low-Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 9 booster on Wednesday, May 18, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The first stage booster supporting the mission on Wednesday previously launched Arabsat-6A, STP-2, COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2, and one Starlink mission. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth and landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
It was SpaceX’s 14th launch of Starlink satellites this year, and the company’s 21st launch overall of 2022. SpaceX has launched 709 of the broadband satellites this year, and 2,653 Starlink spacecraft in all. Wikipedia reports that 2,354 satellites are currently functioning in orbit.
SpaceX has launched 860 payloads into orbit in its 21 launches. The total includes two rideshare missions with 145 small payloads, two Crew Dragon flights carrying eight astronauts to the International Space Station, two missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, and the launch of Italy’s military/civilian COSMO-SkyMed second generation Earth observation satellite.
SpaceX has said it is planning to launch more than 50 times this year. The company’s next flight is the May 25 launch of the Transporter-5 rideshare mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Strategic agreement positions Satellogic to achieve weekly remapping of the entire surface of the Earth in 2023 and over 20 daily revisits of any point of interest, unlocking countless commercial, sustainability, and government applications
New York, NY, May 4, 2022 (Satellogic PR) – Satellogic Inc. (NASDAQ: SATL), a leader in sub-meter resolution Earth Observation (“EO”) data collection, announced today that it has signed a new Multiple Launch Agreement (“MLA”) with SpaceX reserving launch capacity for its next 68 satellites. This new MLA follows the current MLA covering 2022 launches, and confirms that SpaceX continues to be Satellogic’s preferred vendor for rideshare missions, meeting the capacity demands of Satellogic’s constellation roadmap and providing shorter periods between satellite development and deployment.
CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., April 1, 2022 — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 payloads as part of the company’s Transporter-4 dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.
The rocket launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at 12:24 p.m. EDT. The mission manifest included the first satellite orbited by Pixxel of India, Kleos Space’s Patrol Mission, and 12 Spacebee communications satellites. A list of payloads is below.
PALO ALTO, Calif. & BANGALORE, India (Pixxel PR) — Pixxel, a leader in cutting-edge earth-imaging technology, announced a $25 million Series A led by Radical Ventures, a Toronto-based firm known for investing in entrepreneurs that use artificial intelligence to transform massive industries. Additional participation in Pixxel’s Series A comes from Jordan Noone, Seraphim Space Investment Trust Plc, Lightspeed Partners, Blume Ventures, and Sparta LLC. The new funding enables Pixxel to expedite production of the world’s highest resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation and to offer industry AI-powered insights that discover, solve, and predict climate issues at a fraction of traditional satellite costs.
The SpaceX Rideshare Team sent an email last Friday morning to an undisclosed list of rideshare customers and that email said:
“For awareness, we will no longer be flying or working with Spaceflight Industries after currently manifested missions. We look forward to reliably launching all customers currently on manifest and growing our relationships with new operators as well.”
In an effort to provide transparency to our customers and the industry, we wanted to share a few additional thoughts and comments.
SpaceX cut ties on Friday with long-time partner Spaceflight Inc., which integrates customer payloads on rideshare launches. SpaceNews reports that the decision surprised Spaceflight Inc. executives, who received a text message just before SpaceX notified rideshare customers via email it would no longer work with the company.
The article recounts that a Spaceflight Sherpa space tug from the Transporter-3 launch in December due to a leak in the propulsion system provided by Benchmark Space Systems. SpaceX also declined to fly a Sherpa on its upcoming Transporter-4 mission next month due to a different concern.
Another possibility is the SpaceX is bringing rideshare integration inhouse. The company has done similar things in the past in order to become more vertically integrated and less dependent upon partners and suppliers.
There is also an unconfirmed rumor that SpaceX will soon be offering the satellite bus used for its Starlink constellation to other companies at a very low price. The decision to cut ties with Spaceflight could be part of a larger initiative relating to that effort.
A SpaceX official said on Monday that the company is manufacturing close to 8 Starlink satellites per day at its manufacturing facility in Redmond, Wash.
Upcoming launch will introduce a new satellite model with enhanced proprietary technology, enabling Satellogic to scale its constellation of satellites and increase client offerings and product quality
NEW YORK (Satellogic PR) — Satellogic Inc. (NASDAQ: SATL), a leader in sub-meter resolution satellite imagery collection, announced today it has shipped five satellites to be launched in early Q2 from Cape Canaveral. The launch will be part of SpaceX’s Transporter-4 mission onboard the highly flight-proven Falcon 9 reusable, two-stage rocket, under SpaceX’s Rideshare program.
The space logistics and orbital transportation company signed a contract with US launch provider Spaceflight Inc. to deliver the Kleos Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites into orbit aboard the next ION Satellite Carrier mission, scheduled for April 2022.
FINO MORNASCO, Italy, March 1, 2022 (D-Orbit PR) — D-Orbit, the space logistics and orbital transportation company, announced today the signing of a launch contract with US launch provider Spaceflight Inc. to remanifest the four satellites of Kleos Space S.A. (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1, Kleos), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, to be launched and deployed on the next mission of D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier, on the SpaceX Transporter-4 mission. The mission will feature D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier, the Company’s flexible and cost-effective satellite platform able to precisely deploy satellites in orbit and facilitate the testing of new technologies in space.