SpaceX Formosat-5 launch shows ongoing launch-market inefficiencies

by Peter B. de Selding

LOGAN, Utah — The scheduled Aug. 24 launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a single 475-kilogram satellite into a 720-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit is a spectacular waste of rocket capacity that casts an unflattering light on the lack of flexibility of the launch-services and small-satellite sectors.

The launch, carrying Taiwan’s Formosat-5 Earth observation satellite, comes at a time when multiple small-satellite owners are waiting months, and even years, for a chance to ride on board as secondary passengers on missions heading to polar low-Earth . . .

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