In what was the first Falcon-Heavy launch of the year, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a classified mission for the United States Space Force (USSF). SpaceX's most powerful rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida in the wee hours of Monday.
The primary satellite for the mission was Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM 2 (CBAS-2) which was sent into geostationary orbit over 35,000 kilometers above Earth. A spokesperson said that the satellite provides communications relay capabilities in support of our senior leaders and combatant commanders.
"The mission of CBAS-2 is to augment existing military satellite communication capabilities and continuously broadcast military data through space-based satellite relay links," Space Force officials said in a statement to space.com.
The Flacon-Heavy is the most powerful rocket built by the company that is propelled by three modified first stages of the Falcon-9 rocket. The three boosters are strapped together with the central booster pushing the payload into the designated orbit around the planet.
So far, the Falcon-Heavy has conducted five launches and a total of 11 landings. As one of the world's most powerful operational rockets, Falcon Heavy can lift nearly 64 metric tons to orbit. The rocket is powered by 27 Merlin engines that together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.
"This was the second launch and landing of these Falcon Heavy side boosters, which previously supported USSF-44," SpaceX, said in an update. The twin booster landed at Landing Zone-1, and 2 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, with the drone showing their iconic return to the pad.
According to EverydayAstronaut.com, the mission also carried the Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-3A payload adapter that can hold up to six small satellites and five of those slots were filled on the mission.
YouTube: USSF-67 Mission - YouTube