KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Clearing one of the last obstacles ahead of the Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission early next week, SpaceX prepares for the first night launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket.
June 21, 2019
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Clearing one of the last obstacles before the Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission early next week, SpaceX prepares for the first night launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket.
The Hawthorne California-based company successfully completed a static test fire in its Falcon Heavy rocket, which is currently the most powerful launch truck in service late June 19, 2019. Testbrand is one of the last milestones the company performs before the flight.
The STP-2 mission is the third and first night flight. The staff working on SpaceX's mission control has a 4-hour window that opens at. 11.30 ET on June 24, 2019 (03:30 GMT on June 25) to get the mission going.
Although not the heaviest payload that a Falcon Heavy has launched so far, STP-2 will be the most complex mission that the heavy-lift rocket has undertaken. In fact, SpaceX noted that the mission will be one of the more challenging ones ever performed by the company. Per SpaceX:
The STP-2 multi-manifest (rideshare) launch will demonstrate the capabilities of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle and provide critical data that supports certification for future missions to the National Security Space Launch (NSSL). In addition, the SMC will use this mission as a founder for the development of missions to ensure security of supply and procedures for re-use of starter amplifiers. The STP-2 payloads have been collected from a number of mission partners, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the DoD research laboratories, and university research projects. STP-2 provides a unique opportunity for space access to DoD and interstate scientific and technological missions that directly enhance the space opportunities in the United States and its allies and partners.
Like the payloads themselves, the clients included in Monday's flight are also different. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), DoD Research Laboratories and University Research Projects all have payloads on the STP-2's manifesto.
If everything goes as planned at the moment, the launch, managed by the United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), should see 24 separate satellites delivered to three separate runways across four individual upper phase motor burns.
SpaceX, which a company designed on the idea that it was possible to reduce the cost of sending payloads to circuits and launching crew flights to the planet Mars. Falcon Heavy can be a big part of it.
Standing an impressive 230 meters (70 meters), Falcon Heavy measures about 12 meters (3.7 meters) in diameter and runs from a mixture of liquid oxygen and RP-1 (a highly refined form of petroleum). Using 27 Merlin 1D rocket engines, Falcon Heavy has the ability to transmit approx. 63,800 kg for the soil and 58,860 kg for a geostationary transfer path.
Despite the huge size, the rocket is nimble and, like Falcon 9, is able to have its first stage land, either at a location near the launch site or out at sea on one of two autonomous spaceport drone ships.
Video courtesy of SpaceX via Deepak
Curt Godwin has been a fan of space research as long as he can remember keeping his eyes on the sky from an early age. Curt initially decided to train in core technology that computers would be a more interesting – and safer – career field. He has been working in education technology for more than 20 years and has been published in industry and peer magazines and is a respected wireless networking authority. Throughout this period of his life, he maintained his love for all space and has written about his experiences at a number of NASA events, both on his personal blog and as a freelance media representative.