Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Hawthorne, CA, United States (4E) – SpaceX’s dream of making it into the history books with the launch of 70 satellites at one go is waiting for a new countdown.
SpaceX has delayed the launch of the historic mission called “SSO-A” originally set for early Tuesday to conduct additional pre-flight inspections. If the mission had blasted-off as scheduled, it would have meant that 70 small satellites from 16 countries would now be in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
SSO-A is the largest “ride-sharing” mission ever carried out by SpaceX. It will be the first time SpaceX will have taken such a large number of satellites into LEO. This mission will also see the most number of satellites launched into space by any U.S. entity, public or private.
SSO-A will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch vehicle will be a Falcon 9 with a reusable first stage booster.
These small satellites or smallsats are either cube satellites (CubeSats) or microsatellites (microsats). There are 56 CubeSats and 15 microsats on the SSO-A manifest. These 70 spacecraft were developed by 50 different organizations.
The satellites come from the United States, Australia, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Poland, Canada, Finland, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa.
A CubeSat has dimensions of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. On the other hand, a microsat is a satellite with a wet mass between 10 kg and 100 kg.
CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites, according to NASA. They’re built to standard dimensions (Units or “U”) of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. They can be 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in size. They typically weigh less than 1.33 kg (3 lbs) per U.
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