SpaceX Celebrates a World Record Victory

SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy, the world’s largest and most powerful space launch system in use, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, at approximately 9:41 a.m. The rocket carried undisclosed cargo on a classified Space Force mission designated USSF-44.

Falcon Heavy is a modified set of three Falcon 9 rockets. It launched into a geosynchronous Earth orbit for the first time in over three years. “This was the first launch and landing of these Falcon Heavy side boosters,” a statement from SpaceX said. This is following the successful return of the two flanking rockets that safely touched down on their respective platforms shortly after the launch. SpaceX reports that these boosters will be reused for a future mission planned by the Department of Defense.

“Please be advised, tomorrow morning’s launch will be followed by a double sonic boom. This will occur shortly after launch, as the boosters land on landing zone 1 and landing zone 2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station,” a statement from the Space Force’s official Twitter cautioned. Shortly after the dual booster system began its reentry, spectators were treated to a series of two loud snaps as the reusable rocket boosters broke the sound barrier upon reentry.

The launch marks Falcon Heavy’s first sortie since 2019. This was the system’s fourth mission since its development.

Owing to the size of the payload and the cost of lifting such heavy cargo into orbit, neither NASA nor the Department of Defense had prepared a cargo until now.

SpaceX has been tapped by NASA to play a pivotal role in the return of mankind to the moon. This would be in the space agency’s planned Artemis missions that intend to put the first woman and first person of color on the moon by 2025.

SpaceX will deploy its Starship vehicle and Super Heavy boosters, not the Falcon Heavy system that was launched today for the moon mission. An earlier test of the launch system’s Raptor engines in July returned botched results. This was when it was discovered that fuel propellants ignited under the booster.

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