SpaceX will transform one of its Falcon 9 rockets into the space equivalent of a crowded Uber when it launches its Transporter-1 ride-share mission from Cape Canaveral in Florida as soon as Saturday.
The payload for this mission includes a cornucopia of small satellites from government and commercial entities, along with 10 of SpaceX’s ownbroadband satellites.
We learned Thursday that the cargo will include 48 SuperDove satellites for Planet Labs, reportedly bringing the total to a record-breaking 133 satellites in a single launch.
SpaceX itself has not yet confirmed the official number of satellites in the ride-share payload. There’s been some last-minute shifting around after two DARPA satellites were accidentally damaged earlier this month at a processing facility. The Starlink satellites were also a last-minute addition. The payload includes several small spacecraft from Nanoracks and more from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the US Department of Defense and many others.
The launch was originally scheduled for December, but has been postponed a handful of times.
The Falcon 9 booster will be making its fifth flight and is expected to land on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic not long after flight. SpaceX is also likely to attempt to recover the fairing, or nose cone, a move that’s becoming a more routine part of each mission.
The launch is set for as early as 6:40 a.m. PT (9:40 a.m. ET). The entire mission will be livestreamed as usual by SpaceX. You can follow along below starting about ten minutes before launch.