While flying humans into space, and perhaps as far as Mars, might be Elon Musk’s ultimate goal – he is also saying to small satellite designers and operators to join his Falcon 9 club of clients.
SpaceX says its new SmallSat Rideshare project will help get smallish satellites into Sun-Synchronous Orbits for ultra-low fees of just $2.25 million, for up to 150 kgs of satellite and measuring up to 15” across.
Larger/heavier craft, up to 300 kgs will cost $4.5 million per launch.
Significantly smaller satellites (often called ‘Cubesats’) which are invariably scientific in nature, or developed by universities can see their Cubesats aggregated and launched together in a batch.
What Musk’s team is offering are regularly scheduled launches, without delays in waiting for a space aboard a rocket to become available.
SpaceX has listed the availability strategy, starting with a flight later next year (Nov 2020-Mar 2021), followed by flights in Q1/2022 and Q1/2023.