Currently flying around our planetmore than a thousand artificial satellites. Each of them does its job - for example, some devices help meteorologists make a weather forecast, while others distribute the Internet. Small companies that provide us with satellite communications often launch new devices into orbit. Typically, these small satellites are sent into space along with more important cargoes - for example, food for members of the International Space Station. There are some serious drawbacks to this approach, but SpaceX has figured out how to fix them.
It would seem that the bad thing is that compactsatellites are sent along with large devices? Perhaps thanks to this approach, satellite operators can even save money. Everything is not as good as it seems, because companies can never know exactly how many devices they can put in a cargo capsule. There is also a second problem - they cannot force a rocket to launch a satellite at a strictly defined height. For SpaceX and other rocket launch companies, the main load is always above all.
How are communication satellites launched?
To give small companies moreopportunities, SpaceX launched the SmallSat Rideshare program. Within its framework, the company will regularly launch exclusively small satellites weighing from 150 to 300 kilograms into the Earth’s orbit. The launch cost will depend on the number and weight of devices and will range from 2.25 to 6 million dollars. By the standards of the space industry, this is quite an affordable price for such a "minibus" for small satellites.
There are really many artificial satellites in orbit
Besides SpaceX, the launch of small satellites onRocket Lab is in orbit. However, for one launch, she asks from $ 5 million. In this regard, most satellite operators will probably seek help from SpaceX, because in addition to providing a low price, it allows you to schedule a launch for six months ahead and even postpone the launch dates. Of course, for such whims, customers will have to pay an additional amount.
SpaceX has vast experience in bringing toorbit of small satellites. In May 2019, she immediately launched 60 Starlink Internet satellites into the sky at once, each of which weighs 227 kilograms. It was important for the company that the devices enter 440 km orbit, and this requirement was met. Perhaps, telecom operators can only dream of such accuracy at the moment. In the future, the company intends to launch another 12,000 of the same devices, so its experience in this difficult business will only grow.
By the way, some Starlink satellites have already broken
In addition to telecom operators, the new SpaceX serviceother companies may be interested. For example, there are already at least two startups in the world who want to launch hundreds of bright satellites into orbit and add advertising banners from them. It sounds like scary science fiction, but there really is such an idea - the Russian company StartRocket is ready to advertise Pepsi soda. The satellites will need to be located at an altitude of 400-500 kilometers - it seems that Elon Musk is quite capable of helping with this.
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