SpaceX Successfully Launches Transporter-1, Ride-Sharing Mission

SpaceX now lets other companies buy rides on a Falcon for $1 million each.
Loukia Papadopoulos

SpaceX launched the Transporter-1 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC) today Sunday, January 24. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket was carrying  133 commercial and government spacecraft (including CubeSats, microsats, and orbital transfer vehicles), making it the mission with the highest number of spacecraft deployed in a single launch (the previous record was 104 — on an Indian Space Research Organization rocket launched on Feb 14, 2017). 

Ten of these are Starlink satellites that will be deposited in a polar orbit. The launch was initially scheduled for yesterday Saturday, January 23 but was scrubbed due to weather. The event also marks SpaceX's first ride-sharing launch. The program, announced in August 2020, lets other companies buy rides on a Falcon for $1 million each approximately, four times per year. 


In the meantime, Falcon 9 rocket's first stage then landed on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You," which was located out in the Atlantic. The event marked the 73rd recovery of a first-stage booster for SpaceX.  

This wasn't the only notable event of the mission. The booster used also marked the first in SpaceX’s history to launch and land eight times. The previously-held record was seven times and was achieved twice.

The Falcon 9 rocket, known as B1058, is also a record-setter having made history in May 2020 for sending astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. The event marked the first crewed flight to launch from American soil since 2011. 

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SpaceX's boat GO Ms. Chief will also be part of this mission and will try to recover the pieces of the rocket's nose cone. Each of these two pieces is equipped with parachutes and navigation software that direct it to a pre-determined landing zone in the Atlantic Ocean where the boat is now heading to. 

All in all, it was an exciting mission for SpaceX that proved successful yet again.