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SpaceX Reports Transporter Rideshare Mission Capacity is Full Through 2023 

By | August 9, 2022

SpaceX launched 105 spacecraft on its Transporter-3 mission on January 13, 2022. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX launch capacity for its dedicated smallsat rideshare missions on the Falcon 9 is full through 2023 and “pretty full” in 2024 as the missions are in high demand, Jarrod McLachlan, SpaceX director of rideshare sales, told SmallSat attendees on Tuesday. 

Smallsat companies hoping to get to orbit in 2023 and 2024 should still reach out, McLachlan said, as rideshare flexibility means customers sometimes remanifest to later missions.

“We get a lot of movement in the manifest, a lot of customers coming off and on, there is some flexibility here. We do realize schedules change,” he said. “When that happens, it opens up a slot on that Transporter for another customer, so we’re often able to backfill customers. We also work with a wide variety of integrators and brokers who sometimes have capacity.”

SpaceX began its Transporter missions dedicated to rideshare in January 2021, and has launched five Transporter missions so far. McLachlan said demand for rideshare is increasing, but as small satellites get larger, the actual number of satellites manifested for missions is not increasing. 

“We’re actually not seeing higher payload counts anymore, we are seeing a lot more microsats. We’re definitely seeing demand increase, but satellite count [is] not necessarily correlated with that.”

SpaceX is working on a rideshare configuration and smallsat offerings for the Starship rocket, which is in development, but McLachlan said there are no further updates or details at this point. 

McLachlan shared an updated version of the user guide for rideshare customers, noting SpaceX has simplified the testing approach for cubesats.