SpaceX Falcon Heavy / USSF-44 Launch

SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida on 2022-11-01 at 13:41 UTC for the United States Space Force. The classified payload is designated USSF-44 about which no details have been released, but from its geostationary orbital destination is believed to be a military communications satellite. A number of secondary payloads will also be inserted into geostationary orbit.

This will be the fourth launch of a Falcon Heavy, the first since 2019, and the first to carry a U.S. national security payload. The core stage, B1066, and the two side boosters, B1064 and B1065, are all making their first flights. The side boosters will return to land near the launch site, while the central core will be expended on this mission. To achieve the performance required, there will be insufficient fuel to attempt re-entry and landing and the core stage will crash into the ocean.

The high performance that requires expending the core stage is due to the mission profile, which will deliver the payloads directly into geostationary orbit instead of the more common procedure of injecting them into a geostationary transfer orbit then relying on the payloads’ own propulsion to carry them to their geostationary destination. This will be the first time SpaceX has made a direct delivery to geostationary orbit, a launch service previously available only from United Launch Alliance.

Here is a pre-flight preview from Everyday Astronaut.




Just amazing to see those two SpaceX boosters landing! If the guys & gals at NASA had any integrity, they would simply quit.


In the replay video, note that starting at the 27:00 point, in the view from the returning booster at a higher altitude (top right in the video montage), you can see the lower-altitude booster starting its landing burn below. A few seconds later, the higher-altitude booster begins its own.