Skip to main content

SpaceX will let you launch a satellite into space for as little as $1 million

SpaceX is taking applications for its much-anticipated rideshare program. Don’t get your hopes up — it’s for rockets, not humans. Called the Smallsat Rideshare Program, it’s aimed at small satellite customers. 

Applications for the program opened up on February 5, and rideshare missions start at $1 million to use a Falcon 9 rocket to get your satellite into orbit. In the grand scheme of things, a $1 million price point is cheap for this sort of thing. 

Interested applicants can choose between their desired orbit — sun-synchronous, low-Earth or, polar — and their desired date (flights begin this June). Inputting your estimated payload will give you an estimated cost, but pricing starts at $1 million for up to 400 pounds at a sun-synchronous orbit. After that, it’s an additional $5,000 for approximately every 2 pounds (1 kg). 

SpaceX

SpaceX can also offer on-site fueling, insurance, and port adapters for additional costs. A $5,000 credit card deposit is required before you “check out.” 

There’s an extensive user guide on what requirements you have to meet to use the program, but it’s the first program of its kind that allows essentially anyone with the right technology (and enough money) to launch something into space. 

The program also means that smaller customers would no longer have to “piggyback” on a larger launch, enabling them to plan their mission with much greater assurance.

In August, SpaceX told Digital Trends that the company is aiming to ramp up commercial its efforts. 

“We’re committed to serving the commercial market as it grows and changes, and we believe we can address the needs of small satellite operators by offering reliable, cost-effective access to orbit through regularly scheduled, dedicated rideshare missions,” a SpaceX spokesperson said.

The online application tool is just as easy as ordering a custom car model on Tesla’s website, SpaceX’s sister company. 

Aside from helping others get their satellites into space, SpaceX also launches its own Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbits. So far, it’s launched four batches (about 240 satellites) into space since May of last year. 

In the company’s own words, the Starlink satellite project aims to “deploy the world’s most advanced broadband internet system” to provide “fast, reliable internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.” 

Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
Cool footage shows two Falcon Heavy boosters coming home
Two Falcon 9 boosters landing after a Falcon Heavy launch.

SpaceX has successfully launched a weather satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) using its triple-booster Falcon Heavy rocket.

Launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, the SpaceX rocket deployed the GOES-U satellite, which will orbit 22,300 miles above Earth and monitor weather conditions across the U.S., Central America, and South America. Once it reaches operational orbit, the satellite will be renamed GOES-19.

Read more
How to watch SpaceX’s triple-booster rocket take its 10th flight on Tuesday
The Falcon Heavy rocket on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Falcon Heavy rocket on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of its ninth flight in December last year. SpaceX

SpaceX is about to send its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket skyward in its first mission since December last year.

Read more
Elon Musk gives a tour of SpaceX Starfactory rocket site
elon musk gives a tour of spacex starfactory rocket site

First Look Inside SpaceX's Starfactory w/ Elon Musk

SpaceX chief Elon Musk has given Everyday Astronaut YouTuber Tim Dodd an extensive tour of the Starfactory in Boca Chica, Texas.

Read more