SpaceX Calls Off Launch of 143 Satellites Due to Bad Weather Conditions

SpaceX managed to beat the world record for the number of satellites sent into space in a single launch.

According to Harvard astronomer and satellite tracking expert Jonathan McDowell, SpaceX has succeeded in launching more satellites into space in the past 16 days than the entire world in any year before 2013. The bad weather demanded several postponements, until it was possible this Sunday. SpaceX already has permission from the USA federal government to launch thousands of satellites to bulk up the Starlink constellation, and in recent filings with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX said it wants to put a few thousand of those satellites in a lower altitude than previously planned or authorized.

Both records were previously held by Northrop Grumman with 108 satellites launched on the NG-10 Cygnus mission in November 2018.

On January 24, using the reusable Falcon 9 rocket booster, SpaceX – as part of its first dedicated "SmallSat Rideshare Program" mission – launched 133 commercial and government spacecraft (including CubeSats, microsats and orbital transfer vehicles).

Indeed, the Transporter-1 mission was dubbed a "rideshare" program, as it only carried 10 satellites for Starlink, and more than 130 satellites for a variety of customers. However, the process was thwarted due to technical issues.

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That proposed change could put Starlink satellites in the way of another constellation, called Project Kuiper, that's been proposed by Amazon.

Other small-time satellite rocket companies would be closely following events as they play themselves out. SpaceX prices Starlink satellite internet service at $99 a month. The changes to its license that SpaceX is advocating for would allow the company to orbit almost 3,000 of its satellites at an altitude of between 540 and 570 km (336 to 354 miles), which Amazon argues is too close for comfort.

According to SpaceX, the rideshare model can now help small space companies and startups build out their own operational on-orbit constellations faster, and cheaper.

Last weekend, SpaceX 143 satellites were launched into Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The e-commerce giant in July obtained approval from the authorities to deploy a constellation of more than 3,000 satellites in low orbit, which must provide connectivity to areas now not covered anywhere in the world.

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