Following some late-stage optimization of the flight plan, SpaceX's third launch of Falcon Heavy, which will propel 24 spacecraft into a variety of orbits, is poised to usher the US Air Force into a new era of commercial rocket launcher: 30 Pm CET (03:30 UTC), June 24th.
STP-2's 24 satellites will be launched aboard the second SpaceX satellite, which consists of the Department of Defense (DoD) research laboratories, NASA, NOAA, and some US universities Falcon Heavy Block 5 rocket. Both Side Boosters are pilot-tested and supported the debut of Falcon Heavy Block 5 on April 11 just 54 days ago. If everything goes as planned, the USP's STP-2 will simultaneously provide the data needed to fully certify Falcon Heavy for all military launches and prepare the US military for certification of flight-tested commercial missiles for future launch contracts.
An STP-2 website created by SpaceX shows how important the company is to this mission and provides a great explanation of all aspects of the mission, from technical to strategic.
" The STP -2 mission will be one of the most challenging launches in the history of SpaceX, with four separate upper-tier burns, three separate orbits, a final passivation maneuver, and a total mission duration of more than six hours. In addition, the US Air Force plans to re-use side-boosters from the launch of Arabsat 6A Falcon Heavy, who were restored after returning to the launch site [RTLS]. This is the first reused Falcon Heavy ever to be flown for the US Air Force.
[STP-2] will demonstrate the capabilities of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle and provide vital data for the certification of future National Security Space Launch (NSSL) missions. In addition, [the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC)] will use this mission as a trailblazer for the development of mission assurance policies and procedures related to the reuse of booster boosters. " ̵
– AF SMC (@AF_SMC) June 5, 2019
Following the arrival of Falcon Heavy on June 1, the entire STP-2 launch hardware is now on-site SpaceX Pad 39A launch pad and near payload processing. Although we have to wait for the official photo confirmation, SpaceX will likely be late in integrating the three boosters and the upper level of Falcon Heavy, while a combination of DoD and SpaceX technicians is expected to launch just about all of the 24 STP-2 satellites.
Falcon Heavy Flight 3's next visible milestone is likely to be the roll-out of the Pad 39A integrated rocket for a routine static fire test expected to occur 3-7 days before June 24th.
Incredible, despite the scheduling overhead likely to be added by this mission's pivotal Pathfinder character, the current launch date on June 24 would allow B1052 and B1053 Side Boosters to be simultaneously up-to-date Break Booster Turnaround Record from SpaceX. The 72-turn record (time between starts) that B1045 set in SpaceX's latest non-Block 5 start in mid-2018 would be topped 68-day on STP-2, unless additional delays occur.
Whether STP-2's side boosters literally surpass SpaceX's 72-day reusability record is irrelevant to the true meaning of this milestone. If SpaceX can beat its old record as part of what is arguably the most complex launch ever, it's safe to say that the reusability of Block 5 is already a spectacular success, especially for soft boosters. It also suggests that SpaceX technicians and startup engineers are extremely familiar with and familiar with Falcon Heavy's launches, as two boosters used by Falcon Heavy on two launches could affect SpaceX's most significant launches, proving reusability.
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