SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy rocket on Space Force mission

SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy rocket on Space Force mission

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its first Falcon Heavy mission in more than three years on Tuesday, a towering rocket that is the most powerful currently in operation.

SpaceX’s rocket carries the classified USSF-44 mission for the US Space Force, which is also the first operational national security mission for Falcon Heavy. The most recent prior launch was the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission in June 2019, which carried experimental satellites on a demonstration flight in front of the Pentagon.

The mission took off at 9:41 a.m. ET from a launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Sign up here to receive weekly editions of CNBC’s Investing in Space newsletter.

While Falcon Heavy’s base is reusable, the company only landed the side pair of the three rocket boosters — with the central core dropping into the ocean as traditional rockets do, to meet the Space Force’s high performance requirements for this mission.

The Falcon Heavy rocket for the USSF-44 mission rolls to the launch pad on October 31, 2022.


The hiatus in Falcon Heavy’s launches — the company has completed three since the rocket’s debut in February 2018 — is largely due to customer readiness for the schedule.

This USSF-44 mission was originally scheduled for late 2020, and two other Falcon Heavy missions scheduled for this year, another for the Space Force and the other for NASA, have customer payloads that are also not ready yet. There is a backlog of about a dozen missions for Falcon Heavy to come.

SpaceX continues to launch its Falcon line of rockets at a brisk pace, with Tuesday’s mission marking the company’s 50th launch this year. But at the same time, the company continues to work on the even bigger Starship missiles it hopes will replace them.

Why Starship is indispensable to the future of SpaceX

#SpaceX #launches #Falcon #Heavy #rocket #Space #Force #mission

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *