SpaceX launches 143 satellites, breaks world space record – Times of India


MUMBAI: Nearly a fortnight after Elon Muskโ€™s Tesla entered India on January 8, his SpaceX on Sunday night broke a world space record by launching 143 satellites in quick succession, beating Indiaโ€™s record of deploying 104 satellites in February 2017.
The launch vehicle for the SpaceX record-breaking flight was the Falcon 9 and the mission was designated as Transporter-1. The lift-off at Cape Canaveral in Florida was at 8.31pm IST. At one point, the rocket flew over India and its signal was picked up by Isroโ€™s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru. The launch marks the first dedicated mission for SpaceXโ€™s SmallSat Rideshare Program, which enables small-satellite customers to book a ride to orbit with SpaceX directly.
The 143 satellites launched on Sunday included commercial and government CubeSats, microsats, what are known as orbiter transfer vehicles and 10 Starlink satellites โ€” the maximum number of spacecraft ever to be deployed in a single mission. This batch of Starlink satellites was the first in the constellation to be placed in the polar orbit.
The nearly 90-minute deployment sequence of the satellites having different roles was nail-biting because they separated in a span of a few seconds and a minute. Onboard was also a spacecraft belonging to Nasa. With these satellites, SpaceX aims to provide near-global broadband internet coverage all over the world by 2021.
About 10 minutes after lift-off, SpaceX recovered the first stage once again on the โ€œOf Course I Still Love Youโ€ drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Then, about an hour after liftoff, the payloads started deploying over the course of about 90 minutes. According to sources, SpaceX offered a very low price of $15,000 per kilogram for each satellite to be delivered to a polar sun-synchronous orbit.

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