SpaceX starts annual rideshare missions for small satellites

SpaceX will perform a rideshare mission annually with a Falcon 9 rocket. With such a mission, numerous small satellites from different companies are launched. Prices start at $ 2.25 million for a payload of 150 kg.

Rideshare missions are not new to SpaceX; in some cases, the launch of large satellites already includes smaller satellites from other companies. Until now, this was arranged by other companies and the existence of such a rideshare flight depended on a large customer. Now that SpaceX offers the partial launches itself via its Smallsat program , that is no longer the case. The price also goes down and the launches are regular.

Three rideshare launches are currently planned: one per year. The first will take place between November 2020 and March 2021. Prices start at $ 2.25 million for a small satellite of 150 kg. A larger satellite of up to 300 kg can come for 4.5 million dollars. Heavier satellites can also be included at an additional cost of $ 15,000 per kilogram.

The rideshare missions are carried out from the Vandenberg Air Force Base and are launches in a sun-synchronous orbit. Satellites are brought up to a height of about 500 to 600 km and positioned above the day-night limit so that they always receive sunlight on their solar panels.

With offering rideshare missions, SpaceX will compete with, for example, the American Rocket Lab. That company has its own Electron rocket with which it carries out rideshare launches. The costs amount to 5 million dollars per satellite of 150 kg.