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SpaceX launches Transporter-8 tomorrow

Falcon 9 will take off from Vandenberg with 72 satellites

Transporter-8 launch infographics

SpaceX will launch the Falcon 9 v1.2 FT Block-5 rocket serial # B1071.9 on June 12, 2023, at 21:19 UTC (14:19 Pacific) with the rideshare Transporter 8 mission to a Sun-synchronous orbit (inclined at 97.4°) from the SLC-4E complex at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA. The launch window is 57 minutes and if needed there is a launching opportunity on Tuesday, June 13th with the same window.

Transporter-8 Payload Integration

SpaceX's SmallSat Rideshare Program offers small satellite operators dedicated, regularly scheduled Falcon 9 rideshare missions for ESPA-class payloads for a value of $275,000 per mission, which includes up to 50 kg of payload mass. The first stage of this mission was previously launched the NROL-87, NROL-85, SARAh-1, SWOT, and four batches of Starlinks. After separation, Falcon 9 will land at Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) in Vandenberg. The second stage is expected to re-enter during the second orbit, south of Cape Town.

Transporter-8 is SpaceX's eighth dedicated small-satellite sharing mission. There will be 72 payloads on this flight, including CubeSats, MicroSats, a re-entry capsule, and orbital transfer vehicles carrying spacecraft to be released later

In the spotlight for the upcoming launch are a variety of payloads from different sectors. Among the first commercial launches, we have HotSat-1, developed by Satellite Vu, which aims to monitor energy efficiency using an infrared sensor (MWIR). Another payload, GEI-SAT Precursor by SATLANTIS, focuses on methane detection and features a VNIR/SWIR camera. MuSat-1, created by Muon Space, will be onboard to demonstrate its software-defined platform.

Moving on to sovereign launches, AFR-1 by Azista BST Aerospace is an 80kg satellite built on a modular bus platform and hosts a wide-swath optical remote sensing payload with both panchromatic and multispectral imaging capabilities. AFR represents the first satellite of its size and performance built by the private space industry in India, capable of supporting various critical applications for civilian and defense purposes.

Runner-1, a collaborative effort between Terran Orbital and ImageSat International Ltd., is a versatile remote-sensing satellite designed for high-resolution multi-spectral imaging and color video. It will be incorporated into ImageSat International's satellite constellation and serve the Chilean Government as part of its national space program. The satellite utilizes advanced avionics technology from Terran Orbital and a unique electro-optical mission system developed by ImageSat International. Equipped with a ground control system and advanced AI capabilities, Runner-1 enables efficient data collection and analysis for various applications such as infrastructure monitoring, disaster response, security events, climate change studies, and more. Its role in the Chilean national space program, known as FASat Delta domestically, is crucial to the country's space development vision.

Updates on constellations include Tomorrow-R2 by, which will carry a precipitation radar for improved weather forecasting. GHOSt-3, a payload by Orbital Sidekick, brings a hyperspectral instrument to the mission. QPS-SAR-6 by iQPS, Inc. (Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc.) features a SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) instrument. Additionally, the launch includes four ICEYE payloads, all equipped with SAR instruments. Two LEMURs from Spire will join the mission, featuring AIS/ADS-B/GNSS-RO/RF sensors. FOREST-2, developed by OroraTech (via Spire), will contribute to wildfire monitoring with its thermal IR sensor. Four NewSat payloads by Satellogic will bring multispectral and hyperspectral sensors. Dragonette-002 by Wyvern will add a hyperspectral instrument to the payload mix. Lastly, the Gregoire payload by Aerospacelab will serve as a demonstration mission.

Reentry Missions

Outpost Mission 0

Outpost, a sustainable space company, is set to launch its first-ever mission, "Failure is an Option," on SpaceX's Transporter-8. The mission aims to test and evaluate Outpost's payload satellite subsystems and avionics while deploying their first customer payload. Outpost embraces failure as a catalyst for innovation and growth. They are developing the Ferry Earth return payload platform to accelerate the innovation cycle in space exploration. Ferry will enable customers to have their payloads delivered to space, operated as needed, and returned back to Earth, fostering technological development and increasing access to space. Outpost is on a mission to revolutionize the space industry with its sustainable and efficient approach.

W-Series 1

Varda Space Industries has built a lab to make novel pharmaceuticals in a space capsule, then drop them into the Utah desert.

The company plans to demonstrate “melt-cool drug production capabilities.”

Varda’s space-manufactured products are targeted at high-value markets such as fiber optic cables, pharmaceuticals, and semiconductors — all of which have higher performance when produced in zero-gravity. After launch, Rocket Lab’s Photon will position the spacecraft in an operational orbit and provide station keeping. Photon will support Varda’s 120 kg manufacturing and re-entry modules with power, data, and attitude control. All four Photon spacecraft will also incorporate Rocket Lab-designed and built spacecraft components, including radios, reaction wheels, and star trackers. Rocket Lab's Photon will perform multiple burns with the 3D-printed Curie engine, acting as a highly capable propulsion system to place Varda's re-entry capsule on a return trajectory to Earth.

The U.S. Air Force is not flying a test payload on Varda’s first mission, he said. The company will share this mission’s flight data with the Air Force and expects the Air Force’s first payload to fly in 2024.


Here is an approximate timeline of the events during the launch:

00:00:00 - Liftoff (Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg)

00:01:05 - Max Q (maximum stress moment on the rocket)

00:02:14 - Cutting of the 1st stage engines (MECO)

00:02:18 - Staging

00:02:26 - Ignition of the second stage engine (SES-1)

00:02:31 - Start of 1st stage boostback ignition

00:02:56 - Fairing separation

00:03:25 - End of boostback ignition

00:06:17 - Start of 1st stage re-entry ignition

00:06:32 - End of reentry ignition

00:07:25 - Start of 1st stage landing ignition

00:07:42 - Stage landing

00:08:24 - Second stage engine cut (SECO-1)

00:56:52 - Second stage engine ignition (SES-2)

00:56:55 - Second stage engine cut (SECO-2)

The deployment of various satellites follows:

00:59:59 - FOSSASAT-FEROX deployment by Maverick Space Systems

01:00:31 - AII-DELTA deployment by Exolaunch

01:00:44 - GEISAT deployment by Exolaunch

01:00:54 - Ayris-1 deployment by Exolaunch

01:01:06 - EIVE deployment by Exolaunch

01:01:10 - Ayris-2 deployment by Exolaunch

01:01:20 - LEMUR 2 EMBRIONOVIS deployment by Exolaunch

01:01:29 - MISR-A deployment by Maverick Space Systems

01:02:41 - LEMUR 2 NAZIYAH deployment by Exolaunch

01:02:52 - LEMUR 2 AADAM-ALIYAH deployment by Exolaunch

01:03:13 - Swarm Spacebees deployment by Exolaunch

01:03:23 - Droid.001 deployment by Exolaunch

01:03:39 - XVI deployment by Maverick Space Systems

01:03:51 - MISR-B deployment by Maverick Space Systems

01:04:03 - Tiger-4 deployment by Maverick Space Systems

01:04:17 - NewSat 40 deployment by Satellogic

01:04:31 - NewSat 41 deployment by Satellogic

01:05:56 - NewSat 43 release by Satellogic

01:06:07 - NewSat 42 release by Satellogic

01:06:35 - MuSat-1 deployment by Exolaunch

01:07:57 - AFR-1 separation by Exolaunch

01:08:52 - Tomorrow-R2 separation by Maverick Space Systems

01:09:43 - Grégoire separation by Exolaunch

01:10:42 - First ICEYE satellite release by Exolaunch

01:11:48 - Orbiter SN3 release by Launcher

01:12:54 - Second ICEYE satellite release by Exolaunch

01:14:43 - Third ICEYE satellite deployment by Exolaunch

01:15:47 - HotSat-1 release by SatVu

01:16:55 - Fourth ICEYE satellite deployment by Exolaunch

01:17:17 - Skykraft-3 deployment by Skykraft

01:17:59 - GHOSt-3 deployment by Maverick Space Systems

01:19:04 - Blackjack Aces-2 deployment brokered by Lockheed Martin Corporation

01:19:30 - QPS-SAR-6 AMATERU-III deployment by iQPS

01:19:50 - Runner-1 release by Terran Orbital

01:20:16 - ION SCV-011 Savvy Simon release by D-Orbit

01:20:39 - Blackjack Aces-4 deployment by Lockheed Martin Corporation

01:21:33 - Blackjack Aces-1 deployment by Lockheed Martin Corporation

01:22:38 - W-Series 1 deployment by Varda

01:24:48 - Blackjack Aces-3 deployment by Lockheed Martin Corporation

These events mark the successful launch, landing, and deployment of multiple satellites during the mission.

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