The U.S. private space company Space X on Tuesday launched its rocket Falcon Heavy carrying 24 satellites into three different orbits in the most difficult ever mission.
This SpaceX photo released by NASA shows the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission launching from Launch Complex 39A on June 25, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. – Four NASA technology and science payloads which will study non-toxic spacecraft fuel, deep space navigation, “bubbles” in the electrically-charged layers of Earth’s upper atmosphere, and radiation protection for satellites are among the two dozen satellites that will be put into orbit. (Photo by NASA/Joel Kowsky / NASA / AFP)
The Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket, blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in the U.S. state of Florida at 2:30 a.m. American Eastern Time (06:30 GMT).
This is Falcon Heavy’s third launch and its first nighttime launch.
The mission, dubbed STP-2 for the Department of Defence’s Space Test Programme 2, is one of the most challenging launches in Space X history.
According to Space X, the mission owing to four separate upper stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits and a total mission duration of over six hours.
The company said spacecraft deployments began about 12 minutes after liftoff, the deployments are expected to last more than three hours.
SpaceX said that the rocket also reused the recovered side boosters from the last Falcon Heavy launch in April.
According to a live broadcast, side boosters of the reusable rocket had been recovered nearly nine minutes after the liftoff, but its center core stage landing seemingly failed afterwards. (Xinhua/NAN)