Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, carrying 105 small satellites into low orbit around the Earth. This is the company’s third rideshare mission by a U.S.-based rocket.
The Transporter-3 mission lifted off at 10:25 a.m. ET from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The reusable rocket ferried 105 commercial and government spacecraft to space, part of the company’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, which provides access to space for small satellite operators seeking a reliable, affordable ride to orbit, according to the company.
Last month, SpaceX had raised $337.4 million in equity financing, the rocket company disclosed in a regulatory filing.
SpaceX, which counts Alphabet Inc. and Fidelity Investments among its investors, hit $100 billion in valuation following a secondary share sale in October, according to CNBC. It had raised about $1.16 billion in equity financing in April.
The company competes with former Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’s space venture Blue Origin and billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in the burgeoning constellation of commercial rocket ventures.
All three rocket companies have successfully launched civilians into space.
According to Morgan Stanley, the space economy could be worth $1 trillion by 2040.
Musk, who also leads several futuristic companies including Tesla Inc., Neuralink and Boring Co., said last year that SpaceX will be landing its Starship rockets on Mars well before 2030.
SpaceX has already launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).