The launch of the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket was scheduled to take place earlier this week. This is a very important flight not only for SpaceX but also for the US Space Forces because there is a secret X-37B space plane on board the launch vehicle. But SpaceX’s plans have been disrupted for the third day in a row due to bad weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which forced the postponement of the planned date.
Initially, the evening launch window was scheduled for December 11. But SpaceX said it was postponing the launch due to a detected “problem” and rescheduled the launch for the evening of Tuesday, December 12. On Tuesday, the commercial space company announced that it would not launch on that day and rescheduled it for Wednesday, December 13. Officially noting only that the extra time will give the teams the opportunity to complete the system check before the start. On Wednesday evening, SpaceX added that weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center were only 40% favorable for launch, so there was a high probability that the launch would be postponed again.
USSF-52 Secret Mission
When the USSF-52 mission finally begins, Falcon Heavy will launch the US Space Force’s secret X-37B space plane into orbit on its seventh flight, during which it will perform a series of tests. It is unknown how long the plane will stay in orbit. However, its longest mission to date, which ended in November 2022, lasted 908 days before the plane descended from orbit and landed.
Now targeting no earlier than Wednesday, December 13 for Falcon Heavy to launch USSF-52. The extra time allows teams to complete system checkouts ahead of liftoff. Teams are also keeping an eye on weather, which is 40% favorable for launch → https://t.co/bJFjLCilmc pic.twitter.com/iAMdB273cn
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 12, 2023
The X-37B space plane looks similar to the decommissioned NASA Space Shuttle, but is about a quarter shorter — 8.8 meters. Like the Shuttle, it also lands on the runway, but this procedure takes place in fully automatic mode.
When Falcon Heavy lifts off from the ground, it will be the rocket’s eighth flight since its debut mission in 2018 and the first since October. Then it delivered NASA’s Psyche spacecraft to explore an asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter.
With three powerful boosters, Falcon Heavy promises to put on an impressive show when its engines finally start working in the coming days.
Earlier, we reported on how a mysterious Chinese space plane put an object into orbit.
According to Space
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