Falcon Heavy and STP-2 are vertical on Launch Complex 39A (Photo Source: Twitter - @SpaceX)
SpaceX, the American aerospace company is all set for the third-ever and the first night launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket - the most powerful operational launch system in the world. Falcon Heavy is scheduled to be lift off between 11:30 pm EST on June 24 and 2:30 am EST on June 25, weather permitting. The Indian timing for the four-hour-long launch will be around 3:30 am in the wee hours of Tuesday, i.e. June 25, 2019. The much-anticipated mission, also known as Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) will propel 24 satellites into orbit around Earth - as well as the ashes of 152 dead people.
The launch proceedings will be live streamed from NASA's historic Pad 39A and enthusiast can catch all the actions on NASA TV and SpaceX's own YouTube channel with coverage beginning on the latter around 15 minutes before the targeted lift-off time. Additionally, you can also visit SpaceX's webcast page to catch the every single glimpse of this much-anticipated mission.
SpaceX YouTube Channel:
The Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) of the US Department of Defence include payloads from NASA, DOD, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and experiments of several universities. The "most difficult launch ever", as SpaceX founder Elon Musk described the mission, will also carry a Deep Space Atomic Clock, which could be used to help spacecraft navigate to distant destinations, as well as a satellite that will test a new type of green propellant for NASA.
In a statement, SpaceX said, "The STP-2 mission will be among the most challenging launches in SpaceX history", citing four separate upper-stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits and a total mission duration of over six hours. For comparison, the last Falcon Heavy mission deployed its satellite just 34 minutes after launch.
"This will be our most difficult launch ever," Elon Musk wrote on Twitter.
When @SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches, it will carry @NASA_Technology, including an atomic clock for space navigation & space weather research missions. 🚀Join our experts on @Reddit on Tuesday at 2pm ET to ask anything about what we're launching: https://t.co/yzlYmjbQki pic.twitter.com/PNTQP8Qi5T— NASA (@NASA) June 16, 2019
The cremated remains of the dead people will be launched with assistance of a company named Celestis Memorial Spaceflights, which purchases available room on spacecraft, installs a container, and then packs it with small metal capsules filled with ashes. It refers to these as "participants." The satellites also include Lightsail 2, a solar-sail test mission promoted by science star Bill Nye.
The side boosters are expected to be landed on ground landing zones, and the center core on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The center core for the previous launch in April landed successfully on the ship, but was a loss due to rough sea conditions. However, this time SpaceX hopes to bring it home safely.