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SpaceX is just days away from its third Falcon Heavy launch

Published Jun 21st, 2019 4:03PM EDT
falcon heavy launch
Image: John Raoux/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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SpaceX’s largest functional launch vehicle, the Falcon Heavy, has already taken to the skies twice over the past couple of years, and both launches were nearly perfect, save for some snafus during retrieval of its boosters. If you missed the chance to watch those events live, you’ll get yet another opportunity this coming Monday.

The third Falcon Heavy launch is scheduled for as early as 8:30 p.m. PDT (that’s 11:30 p.m. EDT) on Monday, June 24th, and NASA is eagerly anticipating it. Assuming all goes according to plan, the mission will send a total of 24 satellites into space, a handful of which are NASA’s own.

The launch window will open promptly at 8:30 p.m. EDT, and if everything looks good the Falcon Heavy will head into space as soon as the window opens. However, as is often the case with rocket launches, weather can delay things a bit or even push the launch back to a later date.

NASA’s four payloads including a variety of new instruments and experimental technologies that could shape the future of spaceflight. NASA provides a brief summary of each:

  • Deep Space Atomic Clock – a navigation payload hosted on General Atomics Orbital Test Bed satellite
  • Green Propellant Infusion Mission – a small satellite that will demonstrate a non-toxic fuel and propulsion system
  • Space Environment Testbeds – instruments hosted on the Air Force Research Lab’s Demonstration and Science Experiments spacecraft to study how to protect satellites in space
  • Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment – twin CubeSats to study disruptions of signals that pass-through Earth’s upper atmosphere

NASA has already scheduled the live streaming coverage of the event, which is slated to begin a half hour before the launch window opens. The launch and all associated coverage will be available live on NASA’s YouTube channel as well as SpaceX’s channel.