SpaceX Kicks Off ’23 by Launching 114 Satellites

SpaceX launched its first Falcon 9 “rideshare” mission of 2023 on Tuesday carrying 114 small satellites and other payloads into orbit.

SpaceX Kicks Off ’23 by Launching 114 Satellites
Image credit: cbs

Facts

  • SpaceX launched its first Falcon 9 “rideshare” mission of 2023 on Tuesday carrying 114 small satellites and other payloads into orbit.
  • The flight, named Transporter-6, marked the 15th mission by Falcon 9’s first stage — tying a reusability record the company set last month.
  • The 230-foot-tall first-stage booster returned to Earth about eight minutes after launch, touching down at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1. This week’s launch follows a record-breaking year featuring 61 launches by Elon Musk-owned SpaceX in 2022.
  • Among the satellites carried to space were six operated by space analytics company Spire Global, and EOS SAT-1 — the first craft in a seven-satellite constellation that EOS Data Analytics is starting that will focus on agriculture.
  • US Space Force used this launch to put a prototype cloud-imaging satellite in orbit, and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency put up a constellation of “Blackjack” surveillance satellites.

Sources: CBS, Space, Daily Mail, and Express.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Ars Technica. SpaceX is accomplishing launch milestones not seen since the Soviet space program in the 1980s. It's remarkable how a private business has made so much progress. Although there will be challenges to SpaceX meeting Musk’s aim of at least 100 rockets this year, so far the company has given no reason to doubt it.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Brookings. What SpaceX and other private companies are accomplishing in the commercial space travel realm is exciting. But there is a risk in letting these companies grow so much and allowing other companies to sprout up untethered. More needs to be done to ensure that space is governed responsibly. International norms must be established to avoid conflict and overcrowding.