SpaceX launches Falcon heavy rocket for third time

World Tuesday 25/June/2019 17:38 PM
By: Times News Service
SpaceX launches Falcon heavy rocket for third time

Miami: SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy carrying 24 satellites on Tuesday.

The Falcon Heavy, the world's most powerful operational rocket, blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time (0630 GMT). It was Falcon Heavy's third launch and its first at night.

The mission, dubbed STP-2 for the Department of Defense's Space Test Program-2, was one of the most challenging launches in SpaceX history, owing to four separate upper-stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits and a total mission duration of over six hours according to the company.

The spacecraft deployments began about 12 minutes after liftoff, the company said.

The rocket reused the recovered side boosters from the last Falcon Heavy launch in April according to SpaceX. Side boosters of the reusable rocket had been recovered nearly nine minutes after liftoff, but its centre core stage landing seemingly failed afterwards, according to the live broadcast.

The STP-2 mission brought into orbit a deep space atomic clock, a solar sail, a clean and green rocket fuel testbed, and human ashes.

The clock, a toaster-size device, is the first GPS-like instrument small and stable enough to fly on a spacecraft. The new technology of the clock enables spacecraft to know where it is without needing to rely on data from Earth, paving the way for deep space travel, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Also, the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 was deployed, which will navigate its orbit using pressure from light particles hitting the sail.

Another payload was the high-performance propellant, developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

A Houston-based company bought some space in the rocket, bringing the ashes of 152 dead people into orbit for a "space funeral."