The Falcon Heavy has finally lifted off into space after its 3-year-long hiatus on Earth. Before its long awaited liftoff, the SpaceX rocket was tasked with a classified mission called the USSF-44, bringing several satellites along with it.
It's the first time the rocket has been tasked with a special mission by the US space force, and the mission's future outcome appears to be very promising, as the Nov. 1 launch in the Kennedy Space Center was successful.
The USSF-44 space mission was initially planned to be carried out in 2022, but it got delayed several times due to satellite technical difficulties.
Both of the rocket's side thrusters detached around two and a half minutes after liftoff. A few minutes after liftoff , the second stage detached from the core stage. The US government demanded SpaceX to finish the livestream after the second stage separated and did not present views of the second stage.
Both of its side boosters perched down at SpaceX’s Landing Zones at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is around less than 10 minutes after liftoff. The space company said that both boosters will be refurbished for future national security space missions.
As SpaceX's first GEO operational mission, USSF-44 required the Falcon Heavy upper stage to undertake a lengthy coast and engine restart. The space company usually launches the satellites into geostationary transfer orbit, from which the space probe relies on their own thrusters to approach their last orbit 22,000 miles above the Earth.
'We've worked side-by-side with SpaceX to ensure the Falcon Heavy meets all our requirements and has a successful launch,' said Walt Lauderdale, mission director for the USSF-44 mission, in a pre-launch statement.
The Tetra-1 satellite as well as the LDPE-2 ESPA-class ring with six satellites were brought by the mission. Tetra-1 was constructed by the Millennium Space Systems under a signed contract 4 years ago. Tetra-1 will be used as a testing ground for synchronization and vicinity operations by the space force.
The Space Force stated, 'The LDPE platform is a standardized satellite bus that can host multiple payloads, including separable spacecraft.' 'This approach makes rideshare more affordable for a wide range of small and secondary payloads and takes several steps to accelerating the USSF's pivot to new, more resilient space architectures.'
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy made its first successful launch back in 2018 where it took a red Tesla roadster as its dummy payload by sending it to deep space along with an astronaut mannequin. The Falcon Heavy's two boosters landed perfectly next to each other which in turn mesmerized the whole world.