SpaceX launched two satellites of the new US Space Force into orbit

the gigantic rocket of SpaceX, the FalconHeavy, was launched this morning at 10.42 Argentine time (13.42 GMT) with a very special cargo: two large geostationary satellites of the new United States Space Force.

The mission, called USSF-44, took off from Launch Complex 39A in the Kennedy Space Center of NASA in Florida and was the fourth Falcon Heavy launch since the first in June 2018when he took off in a convertible red Tesla Roadster owned by SpaceX owner Elon Musk, with a mannequin on board dressed in a spacesuit.

Logo of the United States Space Force created by Donald Trump in 2020 (The White House/Handout via REUTERS)

The rocket system, made up of three Falcon 9 boosters attached side by side, took off successfully. Eight minutes later, the rocket’s two side boosters successfully returned to the ground vertically in sync on SpaceX Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cabo Air Force Station. Canaveral, Florida. The central core of Falcon Heavy was to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” platform, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean, aboard a ship.

Very little is known about the two USSF-44 payloads They will orbit about 20,000 miles (32,000 km) above the Earth’s equator. Of the duo, only one has been identified by name: TETRA-1, which was built by Millennium Space Systems, a subsidiary of Boeing.

The most powerful

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a national security payload for the US Space Force rolls toward Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.  October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a national security payload for the US Space Force rolls toward Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File

Falcon Heavy is currently the most powerful rocket in the world. It can launch payloads of up to 141,000 pounds or 64 metric tons into space. The rocket can carry twice the payload of its closest competitor, United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy booster. The heavy-lift rocket has three first-stage cores equipped with landing legs and grid-like fins to control their re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

This morning’s launch was the fourth flight of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket available today, which consists of three Falcon 9 rocket cores forming a compact booster soaring powered by 27 Merlin engines with the power of 18 commercial airliners.

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully takes off on a new space mission ( REUTERS / Steve Nesius)
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully takes off on a new space mission ( REUTERS / Steve Nesius)

This 70-meter-high and 12-meter-wide rocket made its first test flight in 2018, when it put a Tesla car into space, which was followed by two other launches in April and June 2019, the last of which sent a group of experimental satellites commissioned by the US Armed Forces and NASA. In July, NASA awarded SpaceX a $255 million contract for the 2026 launch of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope by Falcon Heavy.

That title of “world’s most powerful” is likely to fall to the NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, which is scheduled to launch the agency’s Artemis 1 lunar mission on November 14. And SLS may not hold that distinction for long. SpaceX is developing a giant vehicle called the Starship, which will be the most powerful rocket ever flown. SpaceX is preparing for Starship’s first orbital test flight, which could happen before the end of the year.

One of the two boosters of the Falcon Heavy rocket lands in Florida (REUTERS / Steve Nesius)
One of the two boosters of the Falcon Heavy rocket lands in Florida (REUTERS / Steve Nesius)

The experts from SpaceX they had warned before takeoff that residents of central Florida they could hear the Falcon Heavy thrusters during his landing attempt. “There is a possibility that residents of Brevard, Indian River, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties may hear one or more sonic booms during landing attempts,” SpaceX representatives said.

The Florida Space Coast Tourist Office estimates that as many as 100,000 spectators visited the area to watch the Falcon Heavy launch, according to a report from FloridaToday.

Starman aboard a red convertible Tesla, moves away from Earth in 2019
Starman aboard a red convertible Tesla, moves away from Earth in 2019

Keep reading:

A SpaceX rocket took off for the International Space Station with a Russian cosmonaut on board
SpaceX does not stop breaking records: it launched two rockets and tomorrow it will try a third in 3 days in a row


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