Space X and NASA launch its first female-led mission
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This marks the 50th rocket launch this year for Space X but was the first time the Falcon Heavy rocket has launched since 2019. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk retweeted a picture of the rocket launch with the caption “Sonic BOOMS!!” at the same time the rocket took off.
On Tuesday morning, the rocket launched 9:41am local time (1:41pm UK) at the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral in Flordia, USA.
The first 45 seconds of the flight were obscured due to heavy fog, but the rocket still managed to launch off on time.
The Falcon Heavy shook the local area due to a double sonic boom blast from its Falcon 9 boosters.
However, eight minutes later the two reusable boosters guided themselves back to Earth after separating from the core rocket.
The booster rockets regularly launch on their own to carry Starlink, SpaceX’s internet satellites, into orbit and were needed to give the bigger rocket more thrust.
They are used by SpaceX as a workhorse to launch commercial payloads into space, including cargo to the International Space Station.
The core booster did not land but instead, all its power was used to make the payload travel further into space.
The Falcon Heavy, which needs three falcons 9s to launch, is used only when extra power is needed to carry larger satellites, as it costs $97million to launch.
Kate Tice, SpaceX’s quality systems engineering manager, said: “What an incredible sight. With these two side boosters, this marks the 150th and 151st overall successful landings of an orbital-class rocket.”
The launch was contracted by the US Space Force in order to launch two clarified military satellites into space, alongside a handful of smaller satellites.
The Falcon Heavy first launched in a test mission in 2018 when it sent Elon Musk’s red Tesla sports car into space.
A mannequin wearing a space suit was strapped to the driver’s seat, and David Bowie songs were set to play on the radio as it was in orbit.
At the time, Elon Musk described the launch as “epic” and said: “That’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, literally.”
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Falcon Heavy is currently the world’s most powerful rocket, but the spacecraft is likely to lose its title this month.
Later this month, NASA will launch the Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket on a mission to the moon.
It will be the first mission of the Artemis I project which will be a series of complex missions which will attempt to build a long-term human presence on the Moon.
SpaceX will also be launching its Starship rocket into orbit at the end of the year, which aims to fly NASA astronauts to the moon in the next few years and the launch will will test the rocket’s entire system for the first time.
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