While SpaceX has been expelling Falcon 9s from the park all year, 2022 was also supposed to have launched several launches of the massive Falcon Heavy rocket, which hasn’t been launched since 2019.
The first to look to fly before the end of the month, is scheduled to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center’s 39-A launch pad, according to a US Space Force press release, sending multiple satellites into orbit for space systems command innovation. and delta for prototypes.
“We’re approaching launch day, and we’ve been totally pumped,” said Col. “The launch and mission assurance team and SpaceX, along with the incredible crew on Space Launch Delta 45, have done an absolutely fantastic job preparing this missile. We are putting critical national capabilities into space to confront the threat, and together we are working to ensure one hundred percent mission success.”
The Falcon Heavy, three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, produces more than 5 million pounds of thrust on takeoff. While still the most powerful operational rocket, the Artemis I mission that aims to launch it in November with a Space Launch System rocket and SpaceX’s in-the-work with Super Heavy booster will go beyond that.
Right now, though, the Falcon Heavy has the most traction in the business, doubling the strength of United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy.
The flight will be the fourth ever for the Falcon Heavy, which had its first test flight in 2018 with a notable payload from Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster, which is currently in an orbit that sometimes takes it beyond Mars. The launch was a media spectacle, and two operational launches since then have drawn crowds to Space Coast, but the last launches were more than three years ago.
The last launch was in June 2019 for the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program, and USSF-44 represents the first of several planned to be national security space launch missions.
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Unlike previous flights, SpaceX will not attempt to recover all three boosters, only the two side boosters because the central booster will need to provide more fuel to move the space force payloads into the desired orbit.
This could be the first of three launches for the Falcon Heavy including another for Space Force before the end of the year. Despite this, one of the planned launches of NASA’s Pscyhe probe has been put on hold after problems with the satellite delayed plans to send it to an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.
The USSF 44 has also been delayed from 2021, but its launch in the next two weeks could end the Falcon Heavy’s drought.
Meanwhile, SpaceX has managed 46 Falcon 9 launches among the three launch pads in Florida and California.
It last took off over the weekend from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 1:22 a.m. Saturday to send the Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13F satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
Among its ULA, Astra Space, and SpaceX launches, Space Coast has seen 45 takeoffs this year on pace to break more than one a week before the end of 2022.
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