SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket From Florida, Its 'Most Difficult' Ever

Jun 26, 2019, 01:10
SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket From Florida, Its 'Most Difficult' Ever

It was the first time the military used the world's most powerful rocket, the first nighttime launch for the Falcon Heavy and the first time such a government mission used two SpaceX boosters that have been flown before.

As we mentioned previously, among the satellites aboard the rocket were The Planetary Society's solar sail project and an atomic clock that could change how spacecraft navigate in the future.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a host of scientific payloads into orbit as part of the Department of Defense's (DoD) Space Test Program-2 (STP 2) mission. The Heavy consists of three modified, strapped-together Falcon 9 first stages; a second stage and the payloads sit atop the central booster.

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The Falcon Heavy will launch four NASA experiments, and many other missions.

SpaceX said this was not unexpected for the especially hard mission. It's the second time this has happened, and SpaceX had warned this return would be particularly challenging due to the speed with which the booster returned to the platform.

The space company also made history by catching one half of the rocket nose cone - or fairing - in a net on a fishing boat at sea, as the fairings fell out of the sky.

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NASA signed up for a spot on the rocket, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Air Force Research Laboratory and Planetary Society and Celestis Inc., which offers memorial flights into space. Pogue died in 2014. The launch itself was actually delayed by several hours, with the rocket eventually firing in the wee hours of the morning.

The mission featured 24 different payloads on 3 different spacecraft, including the Orbital Test Bed, and getting all three to their orbits meant that the mission required three different burns and three different deployment points. Nasa was also testing a clean and green alternative to toxic rocket and satellite fuel.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, described the STP-2 launch as the company's "most hard launch ever", in a Twitter post.

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The LightSail is a crowdfunded project that aims to become the first spacecraft in earth orbit propelled exclusively by sunlight, the society, which has championed solar propulsion for decades, says on its website. At that point, the Air Force's Demonstration and Science Experiments - DSX - satellite could be deployed to characterize the space radiation environment and its effects on sensitive electronics.

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