On Saturday, January 14, SpaceXs Falcon Heavy rocket will launch once more, and you can watch the launch live.
On a secret mission known as USSF-67 for the U.S. Space Force, a Falcon Heavy is set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Saturday at 5:55 p.m. EST (2255 GMT).
Watch it live at Space.com thanks to SpaceX, or go to the company’s website directly. When the time comes, we’ll host the company’s webcast.
The Falcon Heavy will make its sixth launch of the year on Saturday. The hefty rocket made its debut in February 2018 with a dramatic test flight that put Elon Musk, the creator and CEO of SpaceX, and a mannequin named Starman in the driver’s seat of a Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun.
In April 2019 and June 2019, the Falcon Heavy launched once more, launching operational satellites into orbit. For the Space Force’s USSF-44 mission, the rocket didn’t launch again until November of last year. According to observers in the space business, customer payload delays were mostly to blame for the 40-month gap.
USSF-67 is a classified mission, just like USSF-44. However, we do have some knowledge of the upcoming flight.
The main payload will be Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM 2, a military communications satellite that will be launched by the Falcon Heavy into geostationary orbit 22,200 miles (35,700 kilometres) above the planet. According to EverydayAstronaut.com, a rideshare spacecraft called Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-3A will also launch on Saturday. This payload adaptor can accommodate up to six little satellites.
Five Space Force payloads will be carried by LDPE-3A on USSF-67. According to a Friday email from Space Force officials, they include “two operational prototypes for improved situational awareness and an operational prototype crypto/interface encryption payload providing secure space-to-ground communications capability” (Jan. 13).
Three SpaceX Falcon 9 first stages that have been upgraded and fitted together make up the Falcon Heavy. The upper stage, which carries the payload, is placed above the centre booster.
As with Falcon 9, the first stages of Falcon Heavy are reusable. According to Space Force authorities, the two side boosters for USSF-67 will launch for the second flight; they previously flew on USSF-44. The core booster for the USSF-67 has never flown before.
If all goes as planned, the two side boosters will return to Earth on Saturday shortly after takeoff, landing vertically at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is just near to KSC. The main booster will crash into the Atlantic Ocean rather than making a comeback.
USSF-67 is one of SpaceX’s many weekend projects. On Sunday morning, the business also intends to use a Falcon 9 to launch 51 of its Starlink internet satellites into low Earth orbit. This mission is also available for viewing at Space.com.