SpaceX is just days away from its third Falcon Heavy launch

Posted June 25, 2019

This Monday's scheduled Falcon Heavy launch (June 24) is the third of the rocket, following the maiden flight in February 2018 that put a auto is space and the second that carried the Arabsat 6A satellite into orbit.

Stacked in a dispenser inside the Falcon Heavy's nose fairing, the payloads include an ultra-accurate atomic clock that NASA is testing to improve deep space navigation; six satellites sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Taiwan that will help improve tropical weather forecasting; and experimental propulsion technology provided by NASA that uses less-toxic but more powerful "green" propellants.

NASA's four payloads including a variety of new instruments and experimental technologies that could shape the future of spaceflight. Media permanently badged for Kennedy are invited to attend in person. The window opens at 11:30 p.m. EDT and ends at 3:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday. NASA TV will simulcast the SpaceX STP-2 webcast starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.

Finally, it will be the first time that SpaceX will reuse the side boosters, which were used on the previous Falcon Heavy mission. That will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, with five solid boosters.

The SmallSat launching this week will test the new "green" propellant, which will provide a safer alternative to toxic chemical propellants now used, and which, in turn, could mean longer duration missions for spacecraft in deep space. The launch marks the start of a very busy summer schedule for SpaceX and other NASA launch partners. The side rockets flew during the second Falcon Heavy launch in April, successfully delivering the commercial communications satellite Arabsat-6A to geostationary orbit. The center core will land on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You out in the Atlantic Ocean.

Also, it's the first time the Defense Department has used a Falcon Heavy for a mission.

As such Elon Musk has said that this will be the most complicated and most hard launch ever.

"The use of the previously flown hardware is providing critical insight in the reusability and quality assurance that allow us to provide space access to the war fighters in a more cost-effective and expedient manner", Bongiovi said.