SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has epic 105-satellite launch

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Jan 16, 2022, 11:10:35 AMJan 16
(In some ways it seems like no progress has been made.
It has been nearly 50 years since we landed people on the moon,
and no many going back, or further since.
But here, one launch, 105 satellites put in orbit, and
the launch rocket has already done 10 launches and 10
good landings. No man, but multiple rovers on Mars.
Some progress is being made.)


SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket spotted from space before and after epic
105-satellite launch (images)
By Mike Wall published about 6 hours ago

Among the trove of satellites were 44 "SuperDove" cubesats.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force
Station on Jan. 12, 2022, one day before it launched on the
105-satellite Transporter-3 mission. This photo was captured from space
by a SkySat satellite operated by the San Francisco-based company Planet.

SpaceX has some nice before-and-after photos to mark the 10th launch of
one of its Falcon 9 rockets, thanks to a satisfied customer.

A Falcon 9 successfully delivered 105 satellites to orbit Thursday (Jan.
13), including 44 "SuperDove" cubesats for Planet, a San Francisco-based
company that operates the world's biggest constellation of
Earth-observing satellites.

The mission, called Transporter-3, marked the 10th launch of this
particular Falcon 9's first stage — and its 10th landing as well. About
nine minutes after lifting off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force
Station, the booster aced a soft touchdown just a few miles away from
the launch pad, at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1.

See more
Planet managed to capture imagery from space of the Falcon 9 both pre-
and post-flight using SkySats, spacecraft about the size of a mini
fridge that are capable of resolving features as small as 20 inches (50
centimeters) on Earth's surface. (SuperDoves have a resolution of about
10 feet, or 3 meters, per pixel.)

One SkySat photo shows the Transporter-3 Falcon 9 standing at attention
at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 on Wednesday (Jan. 12), one
day before liftoff. And on Thursday, Planet posted on Twitter a SkySat
video of the Falcon 9 first stage shortly after it touched down at
Landing Zone 1.

— See the evolution of SpaceX's rockets in pictures
— Earth-observing satellite startup Planet is going public
— SpaceX, Planet ink deal to launch Earth-imaging satellites through 2025

Transporter-3 brought the total number of Planet satellites launched
over the years to more than 500, the company said in another Thursday

Many of those spacecraft were lofted by SpaceX.

"We were thrilled to launch once again with SpaceX, who has now brought
to orbit a total of 127 Planet satellites across eight launches," Planet
co-founder and CEO Will Marshall wrote in a blog post Thursday. "This
marks our first launch with SpaceX under our new multi-year,
multi-launch rideshare agreement signed in 2021."

The 44 newly launched SuperDoves are joining an existing fleet of about
200 Planet satellites, Marshall added.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018;
illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life.
Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom
or on Facebook.

Mike Wall
Mike Wall Senior Writer
Michael was a science writer for the Idaho National Laboratory and has
been an intern at, The Salinas Californian newspaper, and the
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. He has also worked as a
herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary
biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree
from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science
writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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