The mission, dubbed Transporter-1, carried a total of 10 satellites of SpaceX’s Starlink Internet.
It has also carried more than 130 satellites for a variety of customers, including Planet, which operates a constellation of Earth imaging satellites, and ICEYE, which is developing small radar satellites to spot ice and track floods.
The previous record for the largest number of satellites sent into space in a single flight was held by the PSLV, an Indian rocket, which carried 104 satellites at the 2017 launch.
SpaceX’s Transporter-1 mission was the first in a new flight-sharing program announced by the airline in 2019.
The company said at the time: It dedicates a regular launch schedule for its Falcon 9 missile to carry large groups of small satellites or small satellites, rather than focusing on one large base payload.
Small satellites have seen a sharp rise in popularity over the past few years, and their sizes range from very small sizes like a smartphone to medium sizes like a kitchen refrigerator.
As they grow more advanced, large numbers of companies have entered the market promising to provide services using new small satellite technologies.
Small satellites typically reach orbit by attaching to larger, more expensive satellites, and the waiting list can be long and unpredictable.
But there was a huge push in the launch industry to directly meet the needs of the burgeoning small satellite market.
Dozens of new missile companies are pledging to build miniature rockets that can provide quick and easy launches for small satellites.
Two of these companies, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit, have successfully sent their miniature missiles into orbit and started their commercial operations.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are much larger than the Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit rockets, and are usually used to launch massive communications satellites, spy satellites or the Dragon spacecraft, which ferry astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station.
The decision to dedicate additional tasks only to launching small groups of small satellites is a sign of the growing interest in the industry.
And with the increasing number of satellites in orbit, experts have become increasingly concerned about congestion, as satellites have collided in orbit before.
Although such accidents do not pose a significant threat to people on Earth, debris from crashes can remain in orbit for years or decades.