We live in an age now where sharing rides aren’t only a thing of Earth, but also of Space. Who hasn’t used Uber? If not, respond to this story below, because I seriously need to talk to you. Either way, imagine UberPool, but instead of people sharing rides, it will be satellites. However, the passengers only have a common destination, low orbit, or the high orbit. That’s what Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets are starting to offer now.
It was August of 2019 when it was initially announced that Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will introduce ridesharing like service for its rockets to send payloads of small satellites or smallsats to the low-orbit. The idea is to ride these payloads all at once, instead of having to reschedule an entire mission for just one payload at a time. This business strategy by Elon and SpaceX is designed to make satellite clients’ lives easier, by saving them time, extra effort, and of course, a lot of money. They just have to make the satellites and don’t have to worry about how and who will send them to the space. SpaceX and its rockets will take just care of that.
Fast-forward today, 2020, their carpool ‘feature’ has reached new groundbreaking milestones.
SpaceX just announced a new ridesharing program for its small satellites that’ll allow companies to get a ride on the Falcon 9 rocket for as little as $2.25 million. This base package will let organizations load a payload of up to 150 kg and launch it into a sun-synchronous orbit (500–600 km from the earth’s surface).
The company said these launches will be booked and will not wait for a primary payload. This gives an opportunity to a small company to launch its satellite on time without waiting for a space agency’s mission, thus saving a lot of time. It also added that the missions won’t be delayed if one of the co-passenger is not ready for the launch.
Based on the program’s site, the first launch will take place anytime between November 2020 and March 2021. The company hasn’t provided any particular details on how large a payload it targets to carry in these launches.
In the future, it is projected that a small satellite launch revenue will be over $69 billion by 2030. That will come from companies looking to use satellites for everything from communication, observation, and land surveys. According to a report released by the analytics company Frost & Sullivan.
We’re about to cross the democratization of consumer satellites.
The idea is very simple, to hitch multiple small satellites from various manufacturers or operators and launch them to space, all at once.
The company has already been inviting these companies to sign-up for their up and coming carpooling service. Now, to me, this is unreal! Never have I imagined this would happen in sci-fi movies, much less in reality. This SpaceX carpool program enables space satellite operators to simply hitch a ride on a Falcon 9 or Starship just like that! It’s incredible how they made all of this look so simple and easy.
And on Wednesday, SpaceX announced via its Twitter account that over 100 spacecraft have already signed-up to use its UberPool-like service.
According to SpaceX’s Twitter account.
“More than 100 spacecraft have been signed up to fly on Falcon 9 since we launched the rideshare program. Small satellite operators can book their ride to orbit online”
Now, let’s change the tone a little bit.
I remember seeing a meme about Musk and NASA. See below.
Now, the funnier fact is that the meme isn’t only about SpaceX being the industry leader today, but it also refers to SpaceX’s rocket carpool service. Thus, it makes sense for, “pls Elon give us a ride.” Connecting the dots right there!
Okay, back to the journalistic tone.
SpaceX’s next carpool mission is currently scheduled for June 23rd.
This will send up to 10 clumps of Starlink satellites, coming back to the regular number of 60. It will likewise send up two BlackSky, satellites used for Earth observations.
SpaceX sent up its first crucial mission of the new program on June 13th. This is crucial for the ninth launch of Starlink satellites, intended to help the development of Starlink, a pet-project by Musk to create high speed and low latency broadband network to areas with unreliable internet connectivity. The satellites were hitched on the Falcon 9 rocket along with three other satellites of a San Francisco-based company called Planet.
As you some of you may remember, Elon’s favorite book is
“The Hitchhikers Guide To Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.
Now, with this SpaceX’s exciting carpool program, he literally became the Hitchhiker Guide To Galaxy. Fascinating how the world works!
SpaceX’s carpool or ridesharing program has racked up a huge amount of interest already and it has gained a lot of media attention after the successful launch of the NASA-SpaceX Launch event. The carpool service could offer a stunningly better and flexible service, with the up and coming Starship. (Photo on the left)
This rocket is bigger than Falcon 9 and it can bring more payload to Space. The rocket is currently being built in Texas and it is designed to send more than 150 tons of payload into space at once. At once!
We now live in a very historic moment. Elon Musk has certainly proved to us how compelling his vision for the future of humanity and space travel. People are starting to love it already.