Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully placed 105 satellites and other spacecraft into orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket.
The first stage successfully landed at Cape Canaveral, completing its 10th flight. The launch itself was SpaceX’s third launch dedicated to smallsats in its effort to compete against the small rockets of Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit, and Astra for that the smallsat market.
Of those 105 satellites, I actually know the owners of two. First, Joe Latrell, frequent commenter here on BtB, put his first Pocketqube cubesat into orbit, testing a variety of space sensors that could be used to track global water use. Second, Jeremiah Pate’s first Lunarsonde prototype cubesat was launched. If successful, he hopes to launch a constellation of similar cubesats for detecting Earth mineral resources, with six more launches already scheduled in ’22 with SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, Northrop Grumman, and Arianespace.
This was SpaceX’s second launch in ’22. At the moment the company is the only entity worldwide to launch anything this year, though Virgin Orbit is targeting its own launch later today.