As SpaceX sent its gigantic rocket into the sky on Tuesday morning, it was one of the few times Elon Musk claimed that it was the rocket with the highest power, at least for a while. Falcon Heavy, 27 engines firing off three boosters, has launched a classified national security mission to the U.S. Space Force. It is a monster with 3 of SpaceX’s most reliable Falcon 9 rockets strapped together with the equivalent of 5 million pounds of thrust.
The lack of hype in the SpaceX launch, which is Falcon Heavy’s fourth launch since its well-hyped launch at the beginning of February 2018, could be a sign of how the space industry has changed over the last five years. Musk’s SpaceX company is setting the pace. The spacecraft that was a novelty and awe-inspiring in the past is now routine today commercial launches being regularly announced in the media.
Falcon Heavy had been out of the air for over three years because of problems with the satellite’s cargo and a lack of space to launch its USSF-44 flight at the time of 9:41 a.m. ET on Nov 1. It’s anticipated to make two launches in an Earth orbit 22,000 miles higher than the equator including a microsatellite called the TETRA-1 constructed by a Boeing subsidiary.
The day before, SpaceX brought Falcon Heavy’s side boosters to the spaceport at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to be repaired for a future flight. The reason for this was that the mission required a large amount of fuel (which means Falcon Heavy was probably lifting quite a considerable weight.
Although Falcon Heavy may have lost some of its famed PR, it’s still in popularity (though there’s much greater demand for its less powerful Falcon 9 rocket, a rocket that can handle the majority of satellite missions currently). In addition, NASA recently announced that it had reached a deal in partnership
with SpaceX to make use of the rocket’s power to launch its Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which is an infrared instrument that will investigate the dark matter and snap photographs of distant exoplanets into orbit by the end of October 2026. The total cost of the observatory’s launch is estimated at $255 million, as per NASA.