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The SpaceX Falcon Heavy lifted off on January 15 at 5:56 pm ET from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, with the US Space Force's USSF-67 mission into geostationary Earth orbit. USSF-67 was the Space Force's first national security mission in 2023 and marked the Falcon Heavy's fifth flight, as well as its second national security space launch since the launch of USSF-44 on November 1.
The Falcon Heavy first stage consists of three Falcon 9 rockets linked together with engines in the first stage and one engine in the second stage.
Approximately two and a half minutes after launch, both side boosters separated. The second stage separated from the main stage just over four minutes after liftoff.
Both side boosters landed at SpaceX Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida about eight and a half minutes after start. These landings marked the 163rd and 164th successful recovery of the SpaceX booster. They will be refurbished for future national security space missions. The disposable central core was dropped into the Atlantic Ocean.
The primary payload was the US Space Force's Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM CBAS-2 communications satellite, used to transmit data from existing satellites. The second spacecraft was the Long Duration Propulsive ESPA, or LDPE-3A, made by Northrop Grumman, a bus carrying five small military payloads.
Two out of five – small satellites of the US Space Systems Command. One of them – Catcher – is a prototype of the awareness sensor in the space domain. The other, called WASSAT, is a prototype wide-field sensor for tracking other spacecraft and debris in geostationary orbit.
The remaining three small satellites were developed by the Space Forces Administration, which is carrying out secret projects. Space RCO spokesman Matt Fethrow said two of the payloads are operational prototypes for space situational awareness missions, and the third is for encrypting data transmitted from space to earth.https://twitter .com/SpaceX/status/1614758569479667712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
“Space RCO started working with SSC to determine the launch opportunities for these payloads back in 2019”, — Fetrow said. The low-density polyethylene tire was “a great solution,” he said.
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