At the moment around our planet fly more than a thousand artificial satellites. Each of them performs its work — for example, some spacecraft help meteorologists to forecast the weather, while others distribute the Internet. Small companies that provide us with satellite communication, often in orbit, new devices. Typically, these small satellites are sent into space along with the more important goods — such as food for members of the International space station. This approach has several serious drawbacks, but the company SpaceX figured out how to fix them.
It would seem that what is wrong is that the compact satellites are sent at the same time, with large machines? Perhaps with this approach, satellite operators can even save money. It is not so good as it seems, because companies can never know exactly how many devices they can put in a cargo pod. Also have a second problem — they can’t make a rocket to bring the satellite into the specified target height. For SpaceX and other companies that are launching missiles, the main cargo is always paramount.
How to launch communication satellites?
To give small companies more opportunities, SpaceX launched the program SmallSat Rideshare. In the framework the company will regularly orbit the Earth very small satellites weighing from 150 to 300 pounds. The startup costs will depend on the number and weight of vehicles and will range from 2.25 – $ 6 million. By the standards of the space industry it is quite acceptable price for this “minibus” for small satellites.
Orbiting the Earth is really a lot of artificial satellites
In addition to SpaceX, the withdrawal of small satellites into orbit has been the company Rocket Lab. However, one startup she asks for 5 million dollars. In this regard, the majority of satellite operators will certainly seek the assistance of SpaceX, because in addition to providing a low price it allows you to schedule a launch six months in advance and even move the launch date. Of course, for such vagaries customers will have to pay the additional amount.
The Benefits SpaceX
The company SpaceX has vast experience in placing in orbit small satellites. In may 2019, she at once launched into the sky from 60 Internet Starlink satellites, each weighing 227 kilograms. It was important that the devices came on the 440-kilometer orbit, and this requirement has been met. Perhaps such precision operators at the moment can only dream of. In the future the company intends to launch another 12 000 of the same devices, so her experience in this difficult task will only grow.
By the way, some companions Starlink is broken
In addition to operators, the new service may be interested in SpaceX and other companies. For example, the world already has at least two startups who want to launch hundreds of bright satellites and fold them into advertising banners. Sounds like terrible fiction, but this idea really is — a Russian company StartRocket already ready advertising soda Pepsi. Satellites need to be positioned at anof 400-500 kilometers — think Elon Musk are able to help with this.