SpaceX launches fourth mission dedicated to sharing flights

SpaceX launched its fourth flight in a series of flight-sharing missions on April 1, launching a relatively large satellite and dozens of small satellites into low Earth orbit.

Falcon 9 took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:24 a.m. ET. SpaceX beat forecasts of bad weather, with only a 30% chance of acceptable weather the day before launch. However, conditions improved in the hours leading up to takeoff to allow the launch to proceed.

The booster missile fell on an unmanned ship in the Caribbean near the Bahamas, due to the southern trajectory traveled by the booster missile, at the same moment it entered the upper stage of orbit. This booster was on its seventh flight, having previously launched two NASA commercial crew missions, one commercial cargo mission, NASA’s IXPE space satellite, the SXM-8 radio satellite and one group of Starlink satellites.

The upper stage initially entered a synchronous solar orbit at a distance of 650 km, deployed three satellites, and then maneuvered up to 500 km using two additional engine flares from the upper stage before deploying the remaining payloads.

The mission, dubbed “Transporter-4” by SpaceX, was the fourth in a series of dedicated flight-sharing missions designed to carry a large number of small satellites at relatively low prices. Unlike the previous three, which in some cases carried more than 100 satellites, SpaceX said there are only 40 satellites on this mission.

One reason for the smaller number was the size of one of the payloads, EnMAP. The satellite, whose name refers to the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program, weighed about 1,000 kilograms at launch. EnMAP was designed by OHB for the German space agency DLR and featured as a hyperspectral instrument for environmental studies.

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With the launch of EnMAP, Germany is making an indispensable contribution to climate protection. The innovative hyperspectral detection technology will really allow us to see the Earth through different eyes, Anna Christmann, the federal government’s coordinator for German aviation policy, said in the DLR statement. “With EnMAP, Germany is making an important contribution to European space technology for the benefit of our planet.”

It’s also the second time this year that a European government has turned to SpaceX, rather than Europe’s Arianespace, to launch a satellite. a Falcon 9 launched the Italian Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation 2 radar imaging satellite on January 31† The Italian space agency ASI said it chose SpaceX to launch that satellite due to delays in the launch of the Vega C rocket.

The remaining payloads on the Transporter-4 were as small as those from the first three Transporter missions. For example, Swarm flew 12 of its SpaceBEE microsatellites, each a quarter of a cubic unit, weeks after a group flight at the launch of an Astra Rocket 3.3 rocket.

Satellitelogic has flown five of its high-resolution imaging satellites on the mission. One of the five models was a new “Mark 5” model with an improved multispectral camera with a resolution of 70 cm and a 40% larger recording area.

HawkEye 360 ​​flew three satellites to measure radio frequency signals, joining nine others launched earlier. The company said the new Cluster 4 satellites include improved antennas to better detect and geolocate terrestrial radio frequency signals.

A French competitor, Unseenlabs, has flown its BRO-7 satellite on the mission. The company said in a statement that it will launch another satellite, BRO-6, on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket later this month, with the long-term goal of operating 20 satellites. “Expanding our satellite fleet is an important step to better serve our customers around the world and bring more power and value to our RF technology,” Unseenlabs CEO Kliman Galic said in a statement.

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Pixxel, an Indian start-up planning a suite of hyperspectral imaging satellites, has launched its first “integrated” satellite called TD-2, or Shakuntala. The six-unit cubes are designed to produce high-spectrum visible and infrared images with a resolution of up to 10 metres. pixel who announced a $25 million first round tour on March 28It expects to launch another satellite on Indian PSLV in the near future.

Other customers include Transporter-4 PlanetiQ, which launched its GNOMES-3 satellite to collect GNSS weather forecast data on radio latency, and Lynk, which launched its Tower 01 satellite for direct-to-phone mobile communications services.

The airline was originally planned to carry 4 Sherpas from space flight. However, SpaceX removed the Sherpa from the mission due to what it believes are environmental factors affecting the spacecraft on the tug. SpaceX notified companies of this It no longer works with Spaceflight on future rideshare missions

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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