SpaceX successfully launches 'most complicated' Falcon Heavy rocket with 24 payloads

SpaceX is planning a nighttime launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral on Monday night

SpaceX is planning a nighttime launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral on Monday night

After its maiden test flight and the Arabsat-6A mission, STP-2 will be the third launch for the Falcon Heavy-the "most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two", according to SpaceX. However, the new center core booster crashed into the ocean and appeared to explode after missing the platform, a development which was not unexpected for the hard mission, SpaceX noted.

SpaceX has successfully completed one of its most challenging rocket launches.

The space company also made history by catching one half of the rocket nose cone - or fairing - in a net on a fishing boat at sea, as the fairings fell out of the sky.

The STP-2 mission includes technologies developed by several organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, ) DoD research laboratories, several universities and NASA-which is sending up four payloads.

Roscosmos was not the only band of rocket boffins battling baulky batteries with its pesky Proton, as ULA was forced to postpone this week's Atlas V 551 launch to no earlier than 9 July.

The mission, known as STP-2, was to place the 24 spacecraft in three different orbits. "We share the technology with the world, and we are very excited about this launch because we're going to get to a high enough altitude. that we're really going to be able to build orbital energy and take some, I hope, inspiring pictures".

A deep space mission is also in the works, and included on that flight will be some of the remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

The LightSail is a crowdfunded project that aims to become the first spacecraft in earth orbit propelled exclusively by sunlight, the society, which has championed solar propulsion for decades, says on its website. It will be released next week from its temporary perch on a spacecraft and opened a week later.

"Solar sailing is a game-changer", Bill Nye, executive director of the Planetary Society, explained in a video preview of the mission.

The mission, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is due to send into orbit the fifth in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series of satellites created to provide jam-proof and highly secure connectivity for the U.S. military.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy demonstration launch on February 6, 2018.

While the core stage is identical to the side stages, it separates from the payload at a much higher altitude, which means it's returning to the Earth at a much higher speed than the boosters.

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