SpaceX lifted a record-breaking number of satellites in a single payload when its Transporter-1 ride-share mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 7 a.m. PT (10 a.m. ET) on Sunday morning.
The payload for this space equivalent of an Uber to orbit includes a cornucopia of small satellites from government and commercial entities, along with 10 of SpaceX’s ownbroadband satellites. In total, the company says there are 143 little spacecraft aboard, which it claims to be a record.
About nine minutes after boosting the payload and second stage on their way to space, the first-stage booster returned for a pinpoint landing on the SpaceX droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic.
In the weeks leading up to launch there was some last-minute shifting around after two DARPA satellites were accidentally damaged earlier this month at a processing facility. The Starlink satellites were also a last-minute addition. The payload includes several small spacecraft from Nanoracks and more from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the US Department of Defense and many others.
The launch was originally scheduled for December but was been postponed a handful of times, including from Saturday, when weather pushed it back to Sunday.
The Falcon 9 booster made its fifth flight and landing of its career. The most we’ve seen from a Falcon 9 so far is eight flights.