Thousands of people are expected to gather on Florida’s Space Coast tomorrow to witness SpaceX’s launch of the massive Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time since 2019.
The launch will take place on November 1 at 9:44 a.m. EST. SpaceX will attempt to directly inject two US Space Force spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit for the mission. 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.
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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 used again, while the two side boosters will be returned to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Check back tomorrow morning for a livestream of the launch provided by SpaceX.