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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched

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The Falcon Heavy rocket was successfully launched from Florida on Tuesday afternoon. It concerns USSF-44, a secret mission with two payloads for the United States Space Force. It is the first time since 2019 that Falcon Heavy has been launched again.

The launch of the rocket took place at 14.41 Dutch time and went without any problems. Two minutes after launch, Falcon Heavy’s side boosters released. They landed safely a little later on the planned landing zones on land.

What exactly the two payloads are is a secret. It would involve two satellites placed in geostationary orbit around the Earth. Due to the thrust required for this relatively high orbit, the Central first stage of the rocket will not be captured and its reuse is out of the question. The actual decoupling of the payload has yet to take place.

It is the first time the Falcon Heavy rocket has been launched since 2019. Then the 6000kg Saudi communications satellite Arabsat 6A was launched into geostationary orbit. The fact that there are three years between the previous launch and this launch of the Falcon Heavy is mainly due to delays in the satellites or payloads to be launched. For example, the USSF-44 mission should have gone up as early as the end of 2020, and NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission should have started this fall. However, that launch has already been postponed until July next year due to software problems.

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