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On June 12th, SpaceX launched 72 small satellites into orbit, and landed the returning rocket back on Earth, making it the 200th successful touchdown in the company’s history.

The rideshare mission called Transporter-8 was kicked off by the Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base topped with 72 spacecrafts.

According to, the rocket’s first stage came back to Earth for a vertical touchdown at Vandenberg a little less than eight minutes after liftoff, as was planned. It was the ninth launch and landing for this particular booster, SpaceX wrote in a mission description. This is the company’s 200th touchdown since it began in December 2015.

The rocket’s upper stage continued with the 72 payloads. These satellites deployed as planned from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, separating over a 24-minute span beginning an hour after liftoff.

The mission featured a mix of established and emerging satellite developers. Spire deployed three satellites for collecting weather and tracking data, Iceye four radar imaging satellites, and Satellogic four optical and hyperspectral imaging satellites. All three companies used the launch to add to their existing constellations.

Transporter-8 was the eighth small-satellite “rideshare” mission that SpaceX has launched to date and its third such flight of 2023. Transporter-6 launched on Jan. 3, sending 114 satellites to orbit, and Transporter-7 lofted 51 spacecraft on April 15.

SpaceX has attracted significant demand for its Transporter missions, which offer launches three to four times a year at prices significantly less than dedicated launches on small launch vehicles. The company’s website, which lists available launch slots and prices, suggests its Transporter missions are fully booked until the second quarter of 2025.

SpaceX’s first dedicated rideshare mission holds the record for most satellites launched on a single rocket: Transporter-1 carried 143 satellites to orbit in January 2021.