This week’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch was the primary certainly one of that sort in 40 months, and whetted house followers’ appetites for extra.
Followers of Falcon Heavy, a large rocket constructed by SpaceX, will not have that lengthy of a spot subsequent time after the epic Nov. 1 launch that hefted a navy satellite tv for pc to house. The subsequent mission might launch as quickly as December, though the timing has numerous uncertainty.
There are two contenders for the subsequent launch: one other navy satellite tv for pc on behalf of Area Pressure, or a communications satellite tv for pc for ViaSat to start a trio of high-bandwidth communication launches.
ViaSat has not but confirmed its October promise (opens in new tab) that the launch will go later this yr, and sure will not accomplish that till it releases monetary outcomes on Tuesday (Nov. 8), on the earliest. SpaceFlightNow’s launch calendar (opens in new tab) suggests NET (no sooner than) December 2022, however the date is tentative and will push into the brand new yr.
Associated: Why SpaceX hasn’t flown a Falcon Heavy rocket since 2019
Alternatively, a categorized payload for Area Pressure (known as USSF-67) is predicted to go ahead as quickly as January 2023, in line with an October report from SpaceFlightNow (opens in new tab), which discovered potential clues for the satellite tv for pc’s performance within the mission patch.
“Mission patches for the USSF-67 launch point out it is going to carry the second spacecraft for the Area Pressure’s Steady Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM, or CBAS, program,” the report acknowledged. “The primary CBAS satellite tv for pc launched in 2018, and officers stated then the satellite tv for pc was designed to relay communications indicators between senior leaders and navy combatant commanders.”
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The lengthy hole because the final launch in June 2019 was largely as a consequence of delays with the supply of payloads on the rocket’s manifest, however within the meantime, SpaceX has been transferring ahead a number of instances a month with launches of its a lot lighter Falcon 9 workhorse. It is already achieved greater than 50 of these in 2022, which is a document.
Falcon Heavy itself is constructed on first-stage boosters, all modified variations of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, that may make vertical touchdowns after liftoff. (The core stage often drops upon a SpaceX drone ship within the ocean, though Tuesday’s launch noticed the stage ditch within the ocean as a consequence of needing to make use of most of its gasoline to spice up the satellite tv for pc to geostationary orbit.)
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of “Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a e-book about house drugs. Observe her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Fb (opens in new tab).