This Tuesday (1st) could be a historic day for SpaceX. If all goes according to plan, for the first time since 2019, the company will launch a model Falcon Heavy rocket into space.
Called USSF-44, it will be the fourth mission by total number of vehicles, contracted by the US Space Force to fly and deploy two satellites into geostationary Earth orbit.
Liftoff is scheduled for 10:40 a.m. (GMT) from Launch Complex 39A (Pad 39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. You can watch it all live on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
Anyone in Florida who wants to see the launch up close, just go to the website of the KSC, to guarantee your ticket at 250 USD (approximately R$1,290.00) plus tax. Paying audiences will be within 7km of the platform and will be entitled to transportation to the space center facilities, a meal, souvenirs and a digital photo to attest to their attendance.
According to the website space.com, little is known about the USSF-44 mission payloads. Of the two, only one has been identified by name: TETRA-1, which was built by Millennium Space Systems, a subsidiary of Boeing. “TETRA-1 is a microsatellite created for various prototype missions in and around Earth’s geosynchronous orbit,” the company’s website says.
The Falcon Heavy uses three first-stage boosters, which are modified versions of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The trio that will launch USSF-44 have never flown before.
Last Tuesday (25), the rocket was transported to Pad 39A, where it underwent a static firing test on its 27 first-stage Merlin engines, which was completed after two days.
Currently, the Falcon Heavy can be considered the most powerful space vehicle in the world. However, that title will soon be lost to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket, which will be responsible for the Artemis 1 mission, the maiden flight of the agency’s new lunar program.
And the SLS may not retain that rating for long, as SpaceX is also set to launch the colossal Starship, which will become the largest rocket ever when it enters service. SpaceX is preparing for Starship’s first orbital test flight, which could take place before the end of this year.
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