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The Falcon Heavy launch: the most powerful operational rocket in the world

  • Published
    7th Nov, 2022
Context

Recently, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into geosynchronous Earth orbit.

About
More about the current mission
  • The rocket is carrying satellites to space for the U.S. military in a mission named U.S. Space Force (USSF)-44.
  • The mission deployed two spacecraft payloads:
    • One of which is the TETRA 1 microsatellite created for various prototype missions in and around the geosynchronous earth orbit.
    • The other payload is for national defense purposes. It will place the satellites for the Space Systems Command’s Innovation and Prototyping.
Geosynchronous orbit (GEO):
  • A geosynchronous orbit (GEO) is a low inclination orbit about Earth having a period of 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds.
  • The synchronization of rotation and orbital period means that, for an observer on Earth's surface, an object in geosynchronous orbit returns to exactly the same position in the sky after a period of one sidereal day
About Falcon Heavy:
  • Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.
  • The rocket has a height of 70 m, a width of 12.2 m, and a mass of 1,420,788 kg.
  • It has the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb).
  • Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy.
  • Falcon Heavy is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.
  • Merlin engines: Merlin is a family of rocket engines developed by SpaceX for use on its Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.
    • Merlin engines use RP(Rocket Propellant)-1 and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in a gas-generator power cycle. The Merlin engine was originally designed for recovery and reuse.
    • These engines were designed for recovery and reuse.
  • The company hails this as the most powerful operational rocket in the world, afterSaturn V.
  • This is the fourth launch of the giant rocket system.
  • However, it is the first one in nearly three years since its last launch in 2019.
When was the Falcon Heavy launched?
  • SpaceX last launched its Falcon Heavy rocket in June 2019 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
  • It carried 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2.

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