Tonight at 11:30 Eastern, the launch window opens for yet another Falcon Heavy launch from SpaceX, reusing side boosters from the April 2019 Arabsat 6a Falcon Heavy launch. The turnaround time – 73 days from that April 11 launch – is impressive, to put it mildly. They’re on their game.
After the launch, the boosters should land (in unison!) and the center rocket will hopefully touch down on the offshore drone ship. Watching the boosters begin to descend, burn, drift, turn, burn, drift, etc. is just amazing. It never gets old watching it happen for each new launch. And of course the final landings – solo or couple, land or sea – are just a nailbiter every time.
This will be an ambitious, complicated launch of a number of classified satellites and is a “demo tape” to gain a bunch more US military contracts. I expect their experience with the recent Starlink launch to deploy a host of satellites will inform their approach, but as Elon Musk has called this the most risky launch they’ve done, there’s a not-inconsiderable chance of spectacular failure.
Should be fun. I’ll be asleep hopefully but will watch the recording tomorrow morning and be able to FFWD through much of the slow time. I wish I was a Mountain Time/West Coaster or the night owl I was in my 20’s for such events.
Enjoy, night shift, and open thread!