Falcon Heavy Rocket back to the skies after three years

Falcon Heavy Rocket

Image Source: Space

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, a tall, three-legged vehicle that is the world’s most powerful working rocket, flew for the first time since mid-2019 on Tuesday.

At 9:41 a.m. ET, the rocket took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A secret mission called USSF-44 took satellites for the US military into space.

In 2018, Falcon Heavy made its big debut. In addition, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk launched his Tesla Roadster as a test payload. The car is still in space, going around the sun in an elliptical path that swings as far as Mars’ orbital path.

Since that first test flight, SpaceX has only sent the Falcon Heavy into space twice in 2019. One sent a big satellite into space for Saudi Arabia’s Arabsat, which provides TV and phone service, and the other sent a group of test satellites to the US Department of Defense.

But the rocket has not taken off since 2019 because most SpaceX missions don’t need its extra power. On the other hand, SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket has already launched almost 50 missions this year.

Every time the Falcon Heavy goes into space, the rocket splashes when it returns to Earth.

After Tuesday’s mission, the company only tried to get back two of the first-stage rocket boosters from the Falcon Heavy rocket. When the rocket takes off, these tall white sticks are tied together to give it power.

In a news release, the US military’s Space Systems Command said that the center booster was left to fall into the ocean, where it will stay because it didn’t have enough fuel to get back to land.

On the other hand, the two side boosters landed simultaneously on ground pads near the Florida coast.

SpaceX’s unsuccessful attempts

In the past, SpaceX has tried to land all three of the rocket’s boosters on pads on land and at sea so they could be fixed and used again on future missions. It does this to keep mission costs down. Unfortunately, the company has yet to be able to get all three, but it’s very close. For example, after a mission in April 2019, the rocket’s two side boosters landed on ground pads simultaneously. And the center booster landed on a floating platform in the ocean. But then it fell over because of rough seas.

Falcon Heavy Rocket in detail

Even though the Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful working rocket, two much bigger rockets are ready to take its place.

At the Kennedy Space Center, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is in the tall Vehicle Assembly Building. It will try its first launch to send the crewless Artemis 1 mission around the moon later in November. After that, the Falcon Heavy will launch from a pad just a few miles away.

The Falcon Heavy has about 5 million pounds of thrust, but the SLS could have as much as 8.8 million pounds. This is 15% more thrust than the Saturn V rockets that powered the moon landings.

And at SpaceX’s test facilities in South Texas, just across the Gulf of Mexico, the company is in the final stages of getting ready for the first launch attempt of its Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket. Even though the test flight is still waiting for final approval from federal regulators. It might take off before the end of the year.

What we know about the mission 

There is little information out there about the USSF-44 mission. However, in a news release, the US military’s Space Systems Command said that the launch would put multiple satellites into orbit. For the Innovation and Prototyping Delta, which is focused on quickly developing space technology.

When asked by email for more information about the mission, the Space System Command refused. Instead, it sent questions to the Air Force’s Secretary, who also did not answer.

Read Also: Hubble Telescope: NASA and SpaceX might consider a reboot 

The US military is a big part of the rocketing economy at home. It gives lucrative contracts to private launch companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance. A partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Opinions expressed by Miami Wire contributors are their own.

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