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After a three-year wait, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy could launch again later this month – Spaceflight Now - Spaceflight Now

After a three-year wait, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy could launch again later this month – Spaceflight Now - Spaceflight Now

Oct 05, 2022 1 min, 48 secs

The Falcon Heavy rocket mission, codenamed USSF-44, is expected to be the next launch from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy following the liftoff Wednesday of a Falcon 9 rocket and a Dragon capsule carrying a crew of four to the International Space Station.

The launch is expected to occur in daylight in the morning hours, but the Space Force has not officially released the launch time for the USSF-44 mission, the fourth flight of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and the first since June 2019.

The USSF-44 mission was originally scheduled to launch in late 2020, but has been nearly two years by issues with the Space Force payload assigned to fly on the rocket.

The Space Force has released little information about what the Falcon Heavy rocket will carry into orbit on the the USSF-44 mission.

The Falcon Heavy is expected to deliver the satellites on the USSF-44 mission to a high-altitude geosynchronous orbit.

The challenging launch profile will leave no leftover propellant to recover the center core of the Falcon Heavy, according to the Space Force.

A new-generation Viasat broadband satellite or the Space Force’s USSF-67 mission will likely be the next Falcon Heavy launch after USSF-44.

The Space Force said its USSF-67 mission, which the military says will launch into geosynchronous orbit like USSF-44, is currently scheduled for January.

Another Space Force satellite delivery mission booked on a Falcon Heavy, codenamed USSF-52, is now planned to launch in the second quarter of 2023 — between April 1 and June 30.

The other Falcon Heavy missions slated for launch in the next 12 months include the heavyweight Jupiter 3 commercial broadband satellite for EchoStar and Hughes Network Systems later in 2023.

NASA is reviewing plans to resolve the software issues, and the space agency will decide in the coming weeks whether to attempt to launch the Psyche spacecraft, still on a Falcon Heavy rocket, in the next available launch period in July 2023.

With the Roman launch contract in hand, SpaceX now has a backlog of up to 13 Falcon Heavy rocket missions.

And a Falcon Heavy rocket is slated to launch NASA’s VIPER robotic rover toward the moon in late 2024 on a commercial lunar delivery flight managed by Astrobotic.


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