A Closer Look at the Satellites on the SSO-A Mission

Falcon 9 lifts off on Spaceflight SSO-A mission. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Ever since Spaceflight’s launch of 64 satellites on a single Falcon 9, you’ve probably been wondering what those spacecraft were and what the hell they’re doing up there.

Welp, I’ve looked that up so you don’t have to. The table below explains all that, courtesy of Wikipedia. If anyone out there knows of any satellites that are not in the table, please provide details in the comments section.

Thank you for your support.

SatelliteCompany/Organization PurposeNation
Audacy ZeroAudacyTechnology demonstrationUSA
BlackHawkViaSatTechnology demonstrationUSA
BlackSky Global 2BlackSky GlobalEarth observationUSA
BRIOSpaceQuest, Ltd., MyriotaTechnology demonstrationUSA
Capella 1Capella SpaceEarth observation (radar)USA
Centauri 2Fleet Space TechnologiesTechnology demonstrationUSA
CSIM-FDUniversity of Colorado BoulderHeliophysicsUSA
Elysium Star 2Elysium SpaceSpace burialUSA
eXCITe + SeeMe constellationDARPATechnology demonstration (satlets)USA
FalconSat 6U.S. Air Force AcademyTechnology demonstrationUSA
Flock-3s 1–3Planet LabsEarth observationUSA
Fox 1CAMSAT, VPI, Vanderbilt UniversityTechnology demonstrationUSA
Hawk 1–3HawkEye 360SIGINT, traffic monitoringUSA
Hiber 2Hiber GlobalCommunicationsUSA
ICE-CapUS Navy, PEO Space SystemsTechnology demonstrationUSA
IRVINE02Irvine CubeSat STEM ProgramHigh school educationUSA
Landmapper-BC 4Astro DigitalEarth observationUSA
MinXSS 2University of Colorado BoulderHeliophysicsUSA
Orbital ReflectorNevada Museum of ArtArtUSA
ORS 7A, 7B (Polar Scout 1, 2)U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland SecurityCommunicationsUSA
RANGE A, BGeorgia Institute of TechnologyTechnology demonstrationUSA
ROSE 1Phase FourTechnology demonstrationUSA
SeaHawk 1University of North CarolinaEarth observationUSA
SkySat 14, 15Planet LabsEarth observationUSA
SpaceBEE 9–11Swarm TechnologiesCommunicationsUSA
STPSat 5U.S. Air Force STPTechnology demonstrationUSA
THEASpaceQuest, Ltd., Aurora InsightTechnology demonstrationUSA
VESTAexactEarthTechnology demonstrationCanada
SatelliteCompany/Organization PurposeNation
Aistechsat 1AistechEarth observationSpain
Astrocast 0.1AstrocastTechnology demonstrationSwitzerland
Eaglet 1OHB ItaliaEarth observationItaly
ESEOALMASpaceTechnology demonstrationEurope
Eu:CROPISDLRLife sciencesGermany
ICEYE X2IceyeEarth observation (radar)Finland
KazSTSATKazakhstan Garysh Sapary, AstriumEarth observationKazakhstan
KazsaySatInstitute of Space Technique and TechnologyEarth observationKazakhstan
PW-Sat 2Warsaw University of TechnologyTechnology demonstrationPoland
SatelliteCompany/Organization PurposeNation
NEXTSat 1KAISTTechnology demonstrationSouth Korea
SNUGLITESeoul National UniversityAmateur radio, technology demonstrationSouth Korea
SNUSAT 2Seoul National UniversityEarth observationSouth Korea
VisionCubeKorea Aerospace UniversityThermospheric researchSouth Korea
ExseedSat 1ExseedAmateur radioIndia
KNACKSATKMUTNBTechnology demonstrationThailand
RAAF M1Australian Defence Force AcademyTechnology demonstrationAustralia
SatelliteCompany/Organization PurposeNation
ITASAT-1ITAEarth observationBrazil
SatelliteCompany/Organization PurposeNation
JY1-SatJordanian universitiesAmateur radioJordan

  • P.K. Sink

    What a crowd. Love to know what SX charged each of them. Thanks for the info, Doug. Looking forward to your upcoming VG flight report.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Fox has essentially failed…or was launched that way…it has a dead receiver for the transponder

  • duheagle

    SpaceX most probably charged Spaceflight Industries, which bought this mission, its standard published rate for the launch. Spaceflight is an aggregator/rideshare broker for smallsat makers who need to get their little darlings uphill. The charging of fares to individual satellite providers would have been Spaceflight’s responsibility, not SpaceX’s. Spaceflight, so far as I know, also provided all the dispenser hardware, a pro rata share of the cost of which was doubtless part of each client’s individual bill. SpaceX was analogous to a bus operator in this case with Spaceflight being the entity that leased the whole bus, then lined up individual customers to fill each of the seats.

  • P.K. Sink

    That’s right. Spaceflight mentioned that they might not go this route again, because it was so crazy complicated to pull this crowd together.

  • Arthur Hamilton

    Then, again, they have the experience, now. It should be less complicated the second time around.

  • P.K. Sink

    Good point. They said that their biggest challenge was getting the 64 satellites tested and delivered within a reasonable time-frame. I can see where smaller batches would be easier to schedule.

  • duheagle

    I believe Spaceflight has previously brokered rideshares involving a lot of satellites even if not quite as many as flew on SSO-A. What was probably unique about this mission was the variety and total number of clients as well as birds launched and the fact that most were singletons. There were a handful of twosies and threesies from commercial companies but a lot of previous Spaceflight rideshares were dominated by many identical sats from single customers with a few singletons packed in around the edges.

    An unusually high percentage of the clients here seem to be first-timers also. That makes for a lot of newbie hands to hold.

    I’m sure Spaceflight had to hustle to pull this mission off. But, having now done it once, second and subsequent such missions should be easier. I hope Spaceflight decides SSO-A was, at the end of the day, worth the effort. And I’d like to see more such missions – at least one a year, though two or more would be even better.

  • P.K. Sink

    Yup. I especially enjoyed seeing the sat from Kazakhstan…funny.