The world’s largest operational rocket provided an extra treat on November 1, the morning after Halloween, with the first Falcon Heavy launch since 2019 under a blanket of still-evil fog from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Less than 10 minutes after takeoff, the rocket’s side boosters returned for a successful near-synchronous landing not far from the launch pad. The central core booster has been dumped in the ocean after a secret payload was sent into orbit for the US Space Force.
The Falcon Heavy mission dubbed USSF 44 was launched from Platform 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:43 a.m. EDT (6:43 a.m. PT) carrying a military prototype of the small satellite called TETRA- 1 and a larger satellite are uncertain.
The mission was originally planned for 2020, but undeclared payload problems have delayed it several times.
Not long after SpaceX’s massive trio of rockets first lifted off from Earth in 2018, they seem to have been forgotten in the hype around Elon Musk’s larger rocket.The rocket and its escort Super Heavy Booster, which NASA hopes will bring astronauts back to the Moon and which Musk dreams of using to build a community on Mars.
But most of the muscles in SpaceX’s garage that have already made it to space are still Falcon Heavy. Her first flight. He flew two more times, both in 2019.
Falcon Heavy is three Falcon 9 boosters strapped together for three times the thrust. While the configuration is less powerful than NASA’s delayed Artemis I Space Launch System or the Starship and Super Heavy, it will eventually be the world’s most powerful operational rocket.
You can rewatch the launch above. Because of their secret status, the satellite deployment is not streamed.
SpaceX said the lateral boosters could be used to land again in a future national security mission. That could happen as soon as January, although another Falcon Heavy launch of a commercial satellite is scheduled to happen as early as December.
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