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Air Force sees upcoming Falcon Heavy launches as key to certifying reused rocket hardware

14 Mar 2019, 23:30 UTC
Air Force sees upcoming Falcon Heavy launches as key to certifying reused rocket hardware
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SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket climbs into the sky from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX is gearing up for the first commercial launch of its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket as soon as early April with a communications satellite for Arabsat, and the U.S. Air Force hopes the two side boosters from the Arabsat mission can be safely landed and reused for the military’s first Falcon Heavy mission this summer, an exercise officials said will help certify previously-flown hardware for future national security launches.
With SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft back on Earth after a successful six-day test flight to the International Space Station, the company’s next mission will mark the return of the Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful launcher, comprised of three Falcon 9 boosters and 27 Merlin main engines to generate more than 5.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.
Workers at pad 39A are outfitting a transporter/erector for the Falcon Heavy mission after the structure supported a series of Falcon 9 launches over the last 13 months.
Since the Falcon Heavy’s first flight in February 2018, SpaceX has debuted new version of the Falcon 9 rocket known as the ...

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