Watch SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Launch for the First Time Since 2019 on November 1
SpaceX’s triple heavy-lift vehicle is set to take off on Tuesday (Nov. 1) for its fourth-ever launch.
The mission, called USSF-44, was contracted by the US space force and will launch two classified satellites into geostationary orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket ship. Launch is expected Tuesday from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:40 a.m. EDT (1340 GMT). You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company.
USSF-44 will be the first Falcon Heavy launch since June 2019, a flight that earned the rocket the proper Space Force certifications it needed for this upcoming mission. That most recent mission required the Heavy’s second stage to perform four engine starts, pushing the stage to its limits. USSF-44 will also push Falcon Heavy to its limits, but in different ways.
In previous Falcon Heavy launches, the rocket’s side boosters have landed safely on SpaceX’s landing zones at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, while the core booster returns for a drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean, so far. with varying degrees of success.
USSF-44 skips the central booster landing attempt to maximize fuel availability to meet mission’s orbital requirements. So, instead of landing softly on one of SpaceX’s drone ships floating in the Atlantic, this Falcon Heavy core booster will drop into the sea as its companion side boosters land vertically on the Cape.
Very little is known about the two payloads of the USSF-44. Of the duo, only one has been identified by name: TETRA-1, built by Millennium Space Systems, a subsidiary of Boeing. According to the company’s website (opens in new tab), “TETRA-1 is a microsatellite created for several prototype missions in and around geosynchronous orbit.” Furthermore, little is available about TETRA-1 or its larger associated payload.
The Falcon Heavy uses three tethered first-stage boosters, which are modified versions of SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket ship. The trio that launched USSF-44 have never flown. The USSF-44 Falcon Heavy, with no payload, was rolled out to Pad 39A on October 25 for a static test fire of the launch vehicle’s 27 first-stage Merlin engines, which was completed two days later. Thursday’s (Oct. 27) successful static fire put USSF-44 on track for a Nov. 1 launch, according to a tweet (opens in new tab) from SpaceX.
Falcon Heavy is currently the most powerful rocket in the world. However, that title will probably fall into the hands of NASA soon Space Launch System (SLS) mega rocket, which is slated to launch the Artemis 1 moon mission on November 14.
And SLS may not hold that distinction for long; SpaceX is developing a giant vehicle called spaceship, which will be the most powerful rocket ever flown online. SpaceX is gearing up for Starship’s first orbital test flight, which could take place before the end of the year.
#Watch #SpaceXs #Falcon #Heavy #Launch #Time #November