SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy
megarocket successfully launched
24 satellites into orbit. The launch, which was part of a complex government mission, marked several firsts for the SpaceX team. It was the first nighttime launch for the Falcon Heavy, the first time this kind of government mission used two SpaceX boosters that have been flown before and the first time ever the military used the world’s most powerful weapon. The rocket blasted off
at 2:30 am EDT on June 25. It was the Falcon Heavy’s third overall flight. The rocket carried payloads for universities, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the nonprofit organization The Planetary Society. The aim of the launch was for the rocket to release the satellites in three different orbits over a period of hours. The satellites will orbit Earth near the equator, taking measurements of the tropics and subtropics, and monitoring the ionosphere for the effects of solar storms. Additionally, the Defense Department and NASA will operate the satellites. Some are intended to conduct space environmental monitoring, communications and advanced space technologies. SpaceX founder Elon Musk called the mission the „most difficult“ ever for the company. While the overall launch was successful, SpaceX had to face one mishap
: the center core of the rocket crashed into the ocean instead of landing on the drone ship „Of course I love you“. It is unclear why the center core missed its target. The disappointment was evident in the SpaceX headquarters during the livestream as initial celebration gave way to silence after the center core crashed.
It’s a long way from the venture’s beginnings, when PayPal founder (and SpaceX CEO) Elon Musk noted that “The computer and Internet revolutions have given a great deal of capital to the ‘Star Wars’ fans.” SpaceX stuck to its original plan – giving private firms and government agencies that want to launch satellites a $6 million alternative to the cheapest existing rockets, which now cost $30 million per flight. Now, it’s branching out.