Today, November 1, SpaceX will try to launch the Falcon Heavy, the world’s largest operating rocket, for the first time since 2019. It is supposed to launch several payloads of the US Space Force into orbit.
Lately, when people talk about “SpaceX’s big rocket,” they often mean Starship and its companion Super Heavy launch vehicle, which NASA hopes will return astronauts to the Moon and which Elon Musk dreams of using to build a society on Mars. But the biggest SpaceX rocket to actually reach space is still the Falcon Heavy. Its first flight sent the Tesla Roadster to Mars in 2018. The launch vehicle made two more flights in 2019.
The Falcon Heavy mission, dubbed USSF 44, is the next launch at the Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39-A in Florida, currently scheduled for November 1 at 9:40 a.m. ET (3:40 p.m. Kyiv). It was originally scheduled for Halloween morning, but was pushed back a day after Thursday’s test run. The space forces describe it as a classified mission.
“There will be two payloads on board this mission a –larger, unconfirmed satellite and a micro-satellite named TETRA-1,” the military said in a statement on one of its YouTube Channels. “TETRA-1 is the first in a series of prototype GEO satellites launched by the US military, which will test systems procedures for future satellites.”
The mission was originally planned for 2020, but undisclosed problems with the payload have repeatedly delayed it.
The Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9 boosters joined together to triple thrust. Although this configuration is less powerful than NASA’s Artemis 1 space launch system or Starship and Super Heavy, it is still the most powerful rocket available in the world.
Both SpaceX and the Space Force will stream the launch on YouTube: