SpaceX 7x Flown Falcon 9 Transporter 4 Rideshare Mission Delivers 40 SmallSats to Orbit: Photos

SpaceX 7x Flown Falcon 9 Transporter 4 Rideshare Mission Delivers 40 SmallSats to Orbit: Photos
SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – Despite rather poor weather prospects a SpaceX 7x flown 1st stage Falcon 9 booster threaded the needle and successfully launched the Transporter 4 rideshare mission and successfully delivered a payload of 40 varied small satellites to low Earth orbit from the Florida Space Coast, at noontime Friday, April Fool’s Day, led by a German environmental mapping satellite.

The weather outlook had been very poor at only 30% GO after severe weather raced across the US towards the East Coast, southeast and central Florida on Thursday and threatened to derail the April 1 liftoff of the next SpaceX Falcon 9 on the firms 4th commercial rideshare missions with a host of 40 varied small satellites on a southerly trajectory from the Space Coast.

20 second Daylight Wide Angle Streak: SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections and soon disappears behind thick clouds on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022 – in this single wide angle image. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

Liftoff of the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rather sooty SpaceX recycled Falcon 9 on the Transporter-4 mission took place right on time at 12:24 p.m. EDT, or 1624 GMT, on Friday, April 1, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida during an instantaneous launch window to a sun-synchronous orbit

All nine  Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited with 1.7 million pounds of thrust fueled by liduid oxygen (LOX) and RP-1 refined kerosene propellants.

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

The SpaceX Falcon 9 reused rocket designated B1061 performed flawlessly and quickly disappeared behind thick low clouds just seconds after liftoff – rumbling loudly as it thundered almost overhead on the southern trajectory.

20 second Daylight ‘Light Saber’ Streak: SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections and soon disappears behind thick clouds on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022 – in this single image. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

We witnessed the rocket being completely obscured behind the clouds in less than 20 seconds after blastoff

We never saw it again until it appeared on video screens nailing the successful touchdown on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ (JRTI) droneship minutes later.

Enjoy our photos of the SpaceX Falcon 9 for Transporter 4 launch and prelaunch vertical at pad 40  taken by the Space UpClose team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.

SpaceX Falcon 9 blastoff with beautiful water reflections on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission carrying 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

Falcon 9’s first stage booster B1061 previously launched Crew-1, Crew-2, SXM-8, CRS-23, IXPE, and one Starlink mission.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the Just Read the Instructions droneship (JRTI) stationed in the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Cuba.

Transporter-4 is SpaceX’s fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

The nose cone encapsulated 40 spacecraft of many sizes altogether – these included “CubeSats, microsats, picosats, non-deploying hosted payloads, and an orbital transfer vehicle carrying spacecraft to be deployed at a later time,” says SpaceX.

Exolaunch is one of the commercial customers carrying 12 satellites from 9 countries:

The hosted satellite deployments started at T + 14 minutes and continued more than an hour to T + 1 hour 26 minutes.

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

Among the first three payloads deployed early on between 14 and 18 minutes was Germany’s EnMAP hyperspectral imaging satellite – the largest spacecraft carried to orbit on the Transporter 4 mission.

The one-ton German observation satellite named the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program, or EnMAP is sponsored by the German Space Agency (DLR) and about the size of a compact car

EnMAP weighs about 2,160 pounds (980 kilograms).

Due to its large size there are far fewer accompanying small satellites

“With the launch of EnMAP, Germany is making an indispensable contribution to climate protection. Its innovative hyperspectral sensor technology will really let us see Earth with different eyes,” Anna Christmann, federal government coordinator for German aerospace policy, said in a DLR statement.

“With EnMAP, Germany is making an important contribution to European space technology for the benefit of our planet.”

The satellite will scan Earth’s surface with a telescope and dual spectrometers tuned to see sunlight reflected off the ground, lakes, rivers, and oceans in 242 colors.

“EnMAP is a satellite that acquires images of Earth,” said Sebastian Fischer, the mission manager at DLR. “However, an image is normally recorded in three different colors: red, green and blue. The unique thing about EnMAP is that it does not only concentrate on these three colors, but the light is split into very many, very small wavelength ranges.”

SpaceX Falcon 9 blastoff with beautiful water reflections on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission carrying 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

Overall Transporter-4 counts as the 146th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since the workhorse SpaceX rocket debuted in June 2010.

It also counts as the 12th Falcon 9 launch so far this year.

Prelaunch LOX venting of SpaceX Falcon 9 on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare prior to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

 

WFTV Channel 9 ABC News Orlando featured Ken’s comments about busy times on the Space Coast with SLS WDR and upcoming Artemis 1 launch and two SpaceX Crew Dragon launches to ISS NET April 6 & April 20 and Mark Vande Hei return:

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/look-space-coasts-busy-week-ahead/GSYWA2VOHFEHDG35OGCERHT7AI/

Dr Ken Kremer of Space UpClose interview on WFTV ABC News Orlando
20 second Daylight ‘Light Saber’ Streak: SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections and soon disappears behind thick clouds on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022 – in this single image. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about SpaceX  Starlink, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, Artemis, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, DART,  Lucy Asteroid mission, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with beautiful water reflections on Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. 7th launch and landing for F9 first stage B1061. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com
SpaceX Falcon 9 for Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats stands vertical at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is targeted for 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com
Up Close nose cone encapsulating payload of 40 smallsats. SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats vertical at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff target April 1, 2022. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

 

Up Close booster. SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats vertical at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff target April 1, 2022. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

 

With storm clouds overhead SpaceX Falcon 9 for Transporter-4 commercial rideshare mission with 40 smallsats stands vertical at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is targeted for 12:24 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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