For the fourth time in 2023, SpaceX will launch a small rideshare mission into low Earth orbit with a multitude of payloads. The Transporter-9 mission is scheduled to launch during a 55-minute window starting at 10:49 a.m. PST (6:49 p.m. UTC) from Vandenberg Space Station in California.
SpaceX said the launch will include 113 payloads, 90 of which will be deployed directly from the Falcon 9 rocket. The other 23 satellites will be deployed later from orbital transfer vehicles.
The majority of payloads come from Earth observation company Planet Labs PBC. The San Francisco-based company is sending 36 more SuperDove satellites, adding to a list of more than 500 currently in orbit. It is also launching a technology demonstration satellite called “Pelican-1,” which “will host Planet’s next generation of imaging sensors, which will be deployed as part of the Pelican and Tanager constellations.”
The mission comes at the end of a week in which SpaceX launched a batch of Starlink satellites and a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. It also comes a day before the company prepares to launch two more satellites on behalf of Luxembourg satellite company SES.
The Transporter-9 mission will take off from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E), after which the first stage booster, tail number B1071, will return to the VSFB for a landing in Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4).
This will be the 12th mission for B1071 after Transporter-8, two missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, NROL-87 and NROL-85, the German radar imaging satellite SARah-1, the French ocean research satellite NASA SWOT, as well as six missions. Starlink delivery flights.
Earth observations and technology demonstrations
Just over 54 minutes into the mission, SpaceX will begin deploying the rideshare payloads, starting with a batch of 11 payloads manifested by German company Exolaunch.
The first will be one of the Canadian company’s three satellites, GESat: GHGSat-C9 “Juba”. It, along with GHGSat-C10 “Vanguard” and GHGSat-11 “Elliot”, are named after the children of the company’s employees and are designed to monitor broadcasts. The company says GHGSat-10 will become “the world’s first commercial CO2 monitoring payload.”
Also on board the flight is Djibouti-1A, a satellite designed to “transmit data from the meteorological station of the Center for Studies and Research of Djibouti (CERD) to the Mission Control Center located in Djibouti, and provide the tools necessary to monitor the evolution of the situation. changes in water resources by providing real-time data on a national scale,” according to the publican Space in Africa.
The final payload that will be deployed nearly an hour and a half into the mission is FalconSAT-X, a satellite developed by the US Air Force Academy. The Air Force describes the FalconSAT program as “an academic platform for a range of aerospace industry and Department of Defense experiments.”