The world’s most powerful rocket is in operation at the launch pad ahead of its scheduled liftoff on Tuesday morning (Nov. 1).
SpaceX rolled out its Falcon heavy rocket at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday (Oct. 31). If all goes according to plan, the vehicle will lift off on Tuesday (Nov. 1) at 9:41 a.m. EDT (1341 GMT), sending a few payloads aloft for the Space Force on a mission called USSF-44.
“Falcon Heavy rolling up ramp before USSF-44 target mission tomorrow; weather 90% favorable for liftoff” SpaceX said via Twitter (Opens in a new tab) on Monday in a post he shared a photo of the rocket making its way to the pad.
Related: Why SpaceX hasn’t flown a Falcon Heavy rocket since 2019
Vertical Heavy Falcon at Duc Complex 39A pic.twitter.com/4rOUg5q2tYNovember 1, 2022
Falcon Graves made his way to the pad. The SpaceX rocket lifted off in a vertical position later on Monday, after the sun had set, the company said he revealed in another tweet (Opens in a new tab).
The Heavy Falcon consists of three modified levels of the first 9 falcons. A second-rate carrier sits over the center of the race.
Like the Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy first stages are designed to land vertically after liftoff and for future reuse. But in USSF-44, only two outer boosters will return on one side of the Earth. The central runner will dive into the sea, its thruster will be hit by a challenge mission that will carry its payloads to a distant geostationary orbit.
USSF-44 will be Falcon’s fourth heavy-duty mission and first after June 2019. The rocket has a lot of flights on the horizon; a dry spell mainly due to delays in the delivery of satellites to customers.
Here’s the Falcon Heavy before Pad 39A: SpaceX rolled out the rocket last week to conduct a static fire, a practice test that briefly ignites the first stage engines while the vehicle remains anchored to the ground.
The USSF-44 static fire was carried out without payloads on top of the rocket. After the test, SpaceX returned the rocket to its hangar to complete the satellites, about which little is known. (The main payload, a ship called USSF-44, is indicated).
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2 a.m. ET on Nov. 1 to say that SpaceX had brought the Falcon Heavy to a vertical landing on the pad.
Mike Wall is the author of “There you go (Opens in a new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (Opens in a new tab) or * Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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