Press "Enter" to skip to content

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launches for the First Time in Over Three Years – Most Powerful Operational Rocket in the World

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches on November 1, 2022 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending satellites to orbit for the military. Credit: SpaceX/Space Force

For the first time in more than three years, SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>SpaceX launched its gigantic Falcon Heavy rocket, sending U.S. military satellites into orbit. The rocket took off amid heavy fog at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, November 1. A few minutes later, two booster segments returned to Earth, sticking the side-by-side landings back at Cape Canaveral.

This was SpaceX’s 50th launch of 2022 (44 weeks in). That puts SpaceX at a current pace of a launch every 6.10 days, putting the commercial company on track for 59 launches this year. It was also the year’s 70th orbital launch attempt for the US space industry and the 150th for the world.

The Falcon Heavy first flew in 2018, sending SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster as a test payload. The car (and its mannequin passenger, Starman) is still traveling through space, heading on an oblong-shaped trajectory around the Sun that swings out as far as MarsMars is the second smallest planet in our solar system and the fourth planet from the sun. It is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Iron oxide is prevalent in Mars' surface resulting in its reddish color and its nickname "The Red Planet." Mars' name comes from the Roman god of war.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Mars’ orbital path.

While the USSF-44 mission is classified, the US military’s Space Systems Command said in a press release that the launch will put multiple satellites into orbit on behalf of the Space Systems Command’s Innovation and Prototyping Delta, which focuses on quickly developing space technology as it relates to tracking objects in space as well as a range of other activities.

Before the launch, Colonel Douglas Pentecost, the Space Systems Command’s Deputy Program Executive Officer for Assured Access to Space said, “We’re getting close to launch day, and we’re totally pumped! This will be our first National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Falcon Heavy, and the first Falcon Heavy since STP2 over three years ago. Our launch and mission assurance team and SpaceX, along with the fantastic crew at Space Launch Delta 45, have done an absolutely superb job preparing this rocket. We put important national capabilities into space to address the threat, and working together we ensure one hundred percent mission success.”

Falcon Heavy has not been used recently, since the majority of SpaceX’s missions don’t require the heavy lifting of the Falcon Heavy’s ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb). SpaceX says that Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two, as it can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy. Falcon Heavy is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.

SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket has launched 49 missions so far this year.

Originally published on Universe Today.

Source: SciTechDaily

Published in Rocket, Space and SpaceX