SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket rolled out of its hangar and up the ramp to pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, then was raised vertical at the seaside launch complex early Monday in preparation for a late-night liftoff with two dozen weather observation and technology demonstration satellites.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:30 a.m. EDT (0630 GMT) to begin a three-and-a-half hour mission to deliver two dozen satellites into three distinct orbits. The Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters returned to Cape Canaveral for successful landings, but the center core stage crashed during a landing attempt on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy launch for the U.S. Air Force took a major step closer to liftoff with a hold-down engine firing Wednesday night at launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff with a cluster of experimental satellites and weather monitoring craft is set for June 24.
SpaceX is gearing up for the first commercial launch of its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket as soon as early April with a communications satellite for Arabsat, and the U.S. Air Force hopes the two side boosters from the Arabsat mission can be safely landed and reused for the military’s first Falcon Heavy mission this summer, an exercise officials said will help certify previously-flown hardware for future national security launches.
Managers have pushed back the next flight of United Launch Alliance’s Delta 4-Heavy rocket from a launch pad in California until no sooner than early December, and the first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy for the U.S. Air Force has likely been delayed to some time early next year, officials said this week.