SpaceX launches rocket with 24 satellites

Posted June 26, 2019

Launch pad video shows the Falcon Heavy liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX is targeting the third launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket Monday night from Kennedy Space Center.

A SpaceX rocket booster narrowly missed its landing early Tuesday morning, after a successful launch of the Falcon Heavy.

This will likely have a serious impact on future Falcon Heavy launches in the near-term as the second center core of the Falcon Heavy rocket system was lost at sea on its way back from its successful landing after the Arabsat-6A mission in April.

The rocket's second stage, meanwhile, pressed ahead toward an initial orbit, the first of three required by the multi-satellite payload.

Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world "by a factor of two", SpaceX said on its website.

In its latest audacious mission to retrieve rockets after launch, SpaceX fell just short with its center core booster overshooting the sea-based landing pad, crashing into the water with a fiery explosion.

But that disappointment was followed by a major victory that SpaceX announced about an hour later on Tuesday: The rocket's nose cone, or fairing, landed safely into a giant net hoisted up by a crew boat, nicknamed "Ms. Tree".

Unlike the side boosters, the centre core was faced with what the SpaceX PAO breathlessly described as "the most hard landing we've had to date" with the spent booster coming in fast towards the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, which was stationed twice as far into the North Atlantic Ocean (from Port Canaveral) than usual.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will also be sending their experiments as a part of this mission. Mr Pogue died in 2014. "We share the technology with the world, and we are very excited about this launch because we're going to get to a high enough altitude. that we're really going to be able to build orbital energy and take some, I hope, inspiring pictures".

The STP-2 mission will use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle to perform 20 commanded deployment actions and place 24 separate spacecraft in three different orbits. Dubbed LightSail 2, the spacecraft-which is backed by science communicator and head of the society Bill Nye-will attempt the first controlled flight in Earth's orbit powered by solar sails. Twelve small "Cubesats" are on board, including one provided by the Planetary Society to test solar sail technology, using the pressure of sunlight for propulsion.