Thousands of people gather on Florida’s Space Coast to watch SpaceX launch the massive Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time since 2019.
SpaceX will attempt to directly inject two US Space Force spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. The payload includes TETRA-1, a microsatellite developed by Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems, which the company describes as a spacecraft created for “various prototype missions” in a GEO environment. The other spacecraft is classified.
While the Space Force originally planned to launch the USSF-44 mission in late 2020, it has been repeatedly delayed due to payload readiness issues.
Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket currently in service, and it has only flown three times, the last of which was in June 2019. Its first launch, which carried a Tesla Roadster (and a dummy pilot) into orbit , is a particularly notable chapter. in SpaceX history.
The rocket is made up of a trio of Falcon 9 boosters, the same ones that now launch at least once a week. The 27 huge Merlin engines together produce around 5 million pounds of thrust. A Falcon 9 second stage and payload fairing are attached to the center thruster.
This will be the first launch of the three boosters as well as the upper stage and fairing. SpaceX shared a photo of the first three stages in the Kennedy Space Center hangar last week.
The center thruster will be used, while the two side thrusters will land at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Launch is slated for no earlier than 9:44 a.m. EST.