SpaceX put into orbit 64 satellites, the third time using the same stage of the rocket Falcon 9
The American aerospace company SpaceX, founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, December 3, launched the carrier rocket Falcon 9 with 64 small satellites that were successfully launched into orbit. Broadcast of the launch was available on the SpaceX website.
The rocket was launched at 21:34 Moscow time on a U.S. air force base Vandenberg in California. After eight minutes the first stage of the rocket landed on a floating platform in the Pacific ocean. It is noteworthy that SpaceX first used the same step more than two times. For this block fit has become the third – it was previously used for launching spacecraft in may and August of this year. It is not excluded that the company uses this level for a future Falcon 9 launches.
Satellites delivered by a SpaceX rocket into space, was displayed on a given orbit in six receptions, the last of which ended after 43 minutes after launch.
As noted by The Verge, this launch was a landmark not only for the first stage of the rocket. Such a large number of satellites in orbit at once is a record for launches from U.S. territory. The absolute record for this indicator was installed in February of last year, when the Indian rocket PSLV put into orbit the satellite 104.
The coordinator of this mission, called SSO-A, were made by the company Spaceflight Industries involved in the sale of seats in the rockets for developers and operators. As a rule, the company enables the creators of micro-satellites to bring the spacecraft into orbit as an additional load for large satellites. However, this time the customers Spaceflight Industries were able to fully load the launcher Falcon 9 for its satellites: application to the mission of the SSO-A has taken from 2015, and in total, was sent into space in the apparatus 35 companies, research organizations and educational institutions from 17 countries.
Were placed in orbit satellites and they were launched intended for different purposes. So, one of the satellites is designed to monitor the color of the oceans, which will allow you to monitor the status of water on the planet. In another companion are algae, and the creators of the device plan to study what impact they will have space environment. Finally, several satellites were created as part of art projects: Art Museum district of Los Angeles was sent to orbit the gold statue in honor of the first African American astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., and American artist Trevor Paglen created orbital reflector – orbiting its satellite will deploy an inflatable structure with a length of about 30 meters, which will reflect sunlight.
It is assumed that the satellite Paglen can be seen in the night sky. It should be noted that a similar device this year launched the company Rocket Lab. For this it is criticized astronomers – a bright machine, which soon came down from orbit, interfere with their research.
Note also that this time, SpaceX again made an attempt to catch one of the halves of the nose fairing of the Falcon 9 with the large mesh, mounted on a special ship. As he wrote in his microblog Elon Musk, the two halves of the fairing fell into the water, but was not injured, and the company plans to use them again, which will further reduce the cost of launching the Falcon 9.