Orbital Period (minutes)
Podsat (Payload Orbital Delivery Satellite), a previously-undisclosed payload funded by a U.S. military research agency rode into orbit with a Spanish communications satellite on SpaceX’s most recent Falcon 9 rocket launch. The small spacecraft was fastened inside the Hispasat 30W-6 communications satellite, then ejected soon after the Falcon 9’s primary payload deployed in orbit following liftoff from Cape Canaveral. Officials from Space Systems/Loral and NovaWurks, two companies involved in the project, acknowledged the existence of the secret secondary satellite after publicly-available orbital data published by the U.S. military registered an unexpected object attributed to Tuesday’s launch named PODSat. The companies declined to release details about the secondary satellite’s mission or design.