SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket at 1624 GMT on 1 April 2022 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Florida. The mission, which is the fourth of its kind, is SpaceX’s latest rideshare mission aimed at carrying more satellites at lower costs to low Earth orbit (LEO). Unlike previous missions though – where over 100 satellites have sometimes been carried – only 40 satellites were carried in the latest mission, dubbed Transporter-4 by SpaceX.
A heavyweight satellite called EnMAP (Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program), which weighed close to 1,000 kg at the time of the launch, was reportedly part of the reason Transporter-4 carried fewer satellites than previous missions. EnMAP, which was initially intended to launch on an Indian rocket, was built by OHB for German space agency DLR for the purpose of monitoring the Earth’s environment.
The first stage of the rocket landed on a drone barge, Just Read The Instructions, 10 minutes 30 seconds after lift-off, marking the seventh time this first stage has returned successfully. The barge was stationed around 532 km downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.
Future rideshare missions are reportedly in the works for later this year.