Thousands of people have gathered on Florida’s Space Coast to witness SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket launch since 2019.
SpaceX plans to launch two US Space Force spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. The payload includes TETRA-1, a microsatellite developed by Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems.
The spacecraft was designed for “various prototype missions” in and around GEO, according to the company. The other spacecraft has a classification.
The Space Force had planned to launch the USSF-44 mission in late 2020, but it was repeatedly postponed due to payload readiness issues.
Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket currently in use, and it has only flown three times, the most recent in June 2019.
Its first launch, which carried a Tesla Roadster (and a dummy driver) into orbit, is a particularly significant chapter in SpaceX history.
The rocket is made up of three Falcon 9 boosters, which are now launched at least once a week.
The combined thrust of the 27 Merlin engines is approximately 5 million pounds. The central booster is equipped with a Falcon 9 second stage and payload fairing.
All three boosters, as well as the upper stage and fairing, will be launched for the first time. Last week, SpaceX released a photo of the three first stages in the hangar at Kennedy Space Center.
The central booster will be expended, while the two side boosters will land at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.