On the night of July 28, at 11:04 p.m. ET, SpaceX achieved yet another milestone by successfully launching the Falcon Heavy rocket for the seventh time from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The primary objective of this mission was to deploy the Hughes Jupiter-3 satellite to a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The 99-minute launch window opened precisely at 11:04 p.m. ET, and the mission proceeded flawlessly.
The Falcon Heavy rocket is renowned for being one of the most powerful operational rockets globally, second only to NASA's Space Launch System. It is also the third-highest capacity launch vehicle ever to reach orbit, trailing behind NASA's Saturn V and Russia's Energia rockets, which are no longer operational. The Falcon Heavy boasts three modified Falcon 9 first-stage boosters arranged side-by-side, collectively powered by an impressive 27 Merlin 1D engines. At liftoff, these engines are capable of generating a staggering 5.1 million pounds of thrust.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/7fep4mFSOi— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 29, 2023
Following a successful launch, the two side boosters, which had been used in previous United States Space Force missions USSF-44 and USSF-67, were skillfully recovered. Both boosters safely aced the landings on SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, showcasing the company's cutting-edge rocket reusability technology. The synchronized landings have become a signature feat of SpaceX and are always an impressive sight to behold. The booster landings marked SpaceX's 211 and 212 landings of a orbital-class rockets. Watch video clip linked below.
Falcon Heavy’s side boosters have landed on LZ-1 and LZ-2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station pic.twitter.com/OItmoqvgrr— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 29, 2023
The payload of this momentous launch was the Hughes Jupiter-3 satellite, a colossal spacecraft comparable in size to a school bus. Its solar arrays are even more massive, spanning an astonishing ten stories. The sheer magnitude of the satellite necessitated the use of the powerful Falcon Heavy for its journey to orbit. It was deployed by Falcon 9’s upper-stage around 3 hours after liftoff (see video below). Hughes has expressed immense enthusiasm for its latest deployment. The Jupiter-3 is a "next generation Ultra High Density Satellite (UHDS)" and will play a pivotal role in doubling the capacity of the existing Hughes Jupiter satellite fleet. The company stated that this advanced communications satellite will cater to various needs, including in-flight Wi-Fi, maritime connections, enterprise networks, backhaul for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Community Wi-Fi solutions, and satellite internet connectivity across North and South America. The Hughes Jupiter-3 satellite will provide internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps (megabits per second). With this successful launch, SpaceX continues to solidify its position as a prominent player in the space industry, demonstrating the power and versatility of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
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Featured Images Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.