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After surprise, SpaceX's next Falcon Heavy flight is planned at the end of 2020 – Spaceflight Now



SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launches at 2:30 am EDT (06:30 GMT) on June 25 with two dozen ships on board. Regards: SpaceX / USA. Air Force

After two successful Falcon Heavy missions in less than 11 weeks, marketers will probably have to wait until the end of 2020 for Fallon Heavy's next flight to SpaceX, except for a surprise mission for an unnamed customer. Falcon Heavy missions to date – all successful – and there are hard start contracts or contract options for four more Falcon Heavy missions to the US Air Force, Viasat and Inmarsat. All missions are expected to leave the 39A launch site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the only facility equipped to deploy the Falcon Heavy triple rocket.

One of the Air Force missions, designated AFSPC-44, is the next one to fly the Falcon Heavy rocket. The AFSPC-44 mission is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2020, according to Colonel Robert Bongiowi, Director of the Enterprise Systems Directorate at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center of the Air Force.

The Air Force did not identify the payloads. for the AFSPC-44 mission, which the military awarded to Falcon Heavy from SpaceX in February. Documents published with the military's request for proposals suggest that the launch of the AFSPC-44 will lift two payloads in a circular geosynchronous orbit over 22,000 miles above the equator. The combined mass of the two payloads is less than 8,200 pounds, or about 3,7 metric tons.

AFSPC-44's direct injection into geosynchronous orbit from the Falcon Heavy missile will require a continuous coastline of more than five hours between the engine of the above stage burned. On the final Falcon Heavy mission on Tuesday, the top of the rocket ended four burns for three and a half hours during an air force-sponsored demonstration flight. satellite mission loads in three different orbits. They also made use of Falcon Heavy and its engine from the top of Merlin before the air forces entrust the launch with more critical and more expensive national payloads on future flights.

The Air Force officially certified Falcon Heavy to have the right to win national security contracts after the launch of the missile last year. Now a series of in-depth technical and process reviews are carried out before the military puts a critical national security satellite on Falcon Heavy.

"What we are doing now is what we call the process of dignity of space flights," said Bonggiovi in ​​

The successful STP-2 mission "will move us one step closer to the flight space launch of the AFSPC-44 in the autumn of 2020, "Bonggiovi said before the launch. Falcon Heavy, used in the STP-2 mission, flew with re-used side boosters recovered after the previous Falcon Heavy launch on April 11, which delivered Arabsat 6A commercial communications to orbit. Introducing Aircraft Engineers with SpaceX Recovery and Reuse Procedures to certify previously missile missiles for national security missions. Before the launch of the STP-2, all Air Force shots with SpaceX have so far used Falcon 9.

The concept of the STP-2 payload artist on the Falcon Heavy missile during one of the above four burns. Credit: SpaceX

After the AFSPC-44 launch, air forces plan another Falcon Heavy mission with SpaceX in the spring of 2021, Bongiovi said. This launch, marked with the AFSPC-52, was previously scheduled to be delivered by September 2020, but at a briefing with reporters earlier this month, Bongiovi said twice that the AFSPC-44 mission is the next Air Force mission. AFSPC-44 launches, the Air Force has not identified the name or target of the payload to be released on the AFSPC-52 mission.

In a draft call for the release of the AFSPC-52 mission, the Air Force said that a payload required a lifting capacity of about 14,000 pounds, or 6,350 kilograms, in a geostationary transfer orbit with a height of between 115 miles (185 kilometers) and 21,865 miles (35,188 kilometers), 27 degrees tilt.

Viasat and Inmarsat are two large telecom satellite operators with contracts or options for Falcon Heavy rocket launches. satellites of Falcon Heavy. Viasat is developing three new Boeing satellites, known as ViaSat 3, to expand broadband internet coverage across the globe with spacecraft located in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East as well as the Asia-Pacific region [ViasathasboughtcontractswithSpaceXUnitedLaunchAllianceandArianespacetobringViaSat3satellitetotheirgeostationaryorbitoperatingpositionin2021ButtheCalifornia-basedbroadbandcompanyhasnotannouncedtheorderVasssaidFalconHeavywouldputhiscompanion"extremelyclose"tohisultimatelandingingeostationaryorbitusingamulti-hourstartupprofilesimilartotheplannedonefortheAFSPC-44mission

London-based Inmarsat also has a SpaceX contract for the launch of Falcon Heavy. After Falcon Heavy's first flight, Inmarsat decided to pass the launch of one of his Falun 9 missiles in 2017, but retained a contractual option to sail a future Falcon Heavy mission.

Inmarsat, which owns a network of sea and air communications satellites, has failed to fulfill the Falcon Heavy contract option. Inmarsat Chief Executive Officer said in March that one of the company's future companions – the Airbus Inmarsat 6B ship scheduled to be launched by the end of 2021 – may be a candidate for the Falcon Heavy contract option, according to Space News.

is also registered as an additional customer to launch a satellite on the Falcon Heavy mission.

Swedish company Ovzon announced last year its Falcon Heavy rocket choice to pull its first geostationary communication satellite into orbit. Ozón's announcement indicates that the satellite will move directly into the geostationary orbit

Depending on the final funding, the Ozone 3 satellite will be built by Maxar's SSL division and is expected to weigh less than one ton of release time. The relatively low weight of the Ovzon 3 spacecraft implies that it may not be dedicated to launching and can fly with another payload of Falcon Heavy.

Several missions of SpaceX were announced only months earlier, such as the launch of Falcon 9 on the US Air Force X-37B in September 2017, and the withdrawal of the mysterious payload of the US government Zuma in January 2018. [19659003] The launch of Falcon 9 on South Korean military communications satellites scheduled for November by Cape Canaveral has also passed

Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX, said in May that the company planned between 18 and 21 missions this year. except for flights carrying spaceX spaceX satellites from SpaceX.

SpaceX has completed eight missions in the first half of the year, including a starlink Starlink.

In response to a question about Falcon Heavy's next launch from Spaceflight Now, SpaceX's spokesman refers to a company's online manifesto that does not mention Falcon Heavy missions with known launch dates before the AFSPC-44 launch at the end by 2020.

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Follow Steven Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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