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 Friday.
The payload for this mission includes a cornucopia of small satellites from government and commercial entities, along with 10 of SpaceX’s ownbroadband satellites.
SpaceX 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. We do expect that the ride-share payload is made up of dozens of satellites — perhaps more than 90 — including several from Nanoracks and more from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the US Department of Defense and many others.
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 was originally intended for Thursday but has slipped to Friday after this week’s Starlink launch was also delayed. It’s set for 6:24 a.m. PT (9:24 a.m. ET), and the latest forecast shows an 80 percent chance of good weather for liftoff and landing. The entire mission will be livestreamed as usual by SpaceX. We’ll embed that feed here when it becomes available so you can follow along starting about ten minutes before launch.