USSF-44 is a classified US Space Force payload carrying two distinct spacecraft, one large unknown satellite heading to a geostationary orbit and one microsat named TETRA-1 which will test systems procedures for future satellites.
Meet SpaceX's reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle, Falcon Heavy.
Falcon Heavy is designed and manufactured by SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. It is derived from the Falcon 9 vehicle and consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 first stage as a central core with two additional first stages as strap-on boosters.
All three boosters can be recovered after successful landings.
SpaceX conducted Falcon Heavy's first launch on February 6th, 2018, at 3:45 PM EST. The rocket carried a Tesla Roadster belonging to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, with a dummy dubbed "Starman" in the driver's seat.
The second Falcon Heavy launch occurred on April 11th, 2019. This launch successfully launched the Arabsat-6A satellite and all three booster rockets successfully returned to Earth except but the center core subsequently fell over and was lost during transport due to heavy seas.
The third Falcon Heavy launch successfully occurred on June 25th, 2019. This mission successfully launched multiple payloads including USAF STP-2, a space memorial for Celestis, and Lightsail-2. The mission also supported the U.S. Air Force National Security Space Launch certification process for the Falcon Heavy. The side boosters were successfully recovered but the center core failed to land and was destroyed on impact with the Atlantic Ocean.
Low Earth Orbit (max): 63,800 kg / 140,660 lb
Geostationary Orbit (max): 26,700 kg / 58,860 lb
Mars (max): 16,800 kg / 37,040 lb
Image: Erik Kuna for Supercluster
NASA's historic Kennedy Space Center is located on Cape Canaveral, Florida, and has hosted decades of historic space missions since the early days of the Apollo program.
Today, Kennedy Space Center is a multi-user spaceport and hosts private companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and others.
SpaceX leases Launch Complex 39A at NASA's flagship facility and uses the pad to launch its Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets. The pad is also used to launch missions for the Commercial Crew Program for which SpaceX launches astronauts to the Space Station for NASA aboard their Crew Dragon capsule.
Launch Complex 39A was previously used by NASA to launch the Apollo 11 mission to land the first humans on the moon and Space Shuttle missions to assemble the International Space Station and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.
Image: John Kraus for Supercluster
A Shortfall of Gravitas (ASOG) is a SpaceX autonomous spaceport droneship (ASDS), operating out of Port Canaveral, Florida. The droneship had been teased by Elon Musk frequently since it was first announced in 2018 and made its debut mission during CRS-23.
Image Credit: Jenny Hautmann for Supercluster
The Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship "Just Read The Instructions" is one of two Atlantic Ocean recovery ships for SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. It was first used exclusively in the Pacific Ocean before being brought through the Panama Canal to Louisiana and then Port Canaveral for refits and upgrades. Its first Atlantic Ocean mission supported the 8th Starlink launch in June 2020.