Falcon Heavy launches USSF-67 two satellite payload on way to GEO with its two boosters landed for future launches (Corrected)

by | Jan 16, 2023 | Launches, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News, SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy Block 5 (px) rocket successfully lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA at 2256 GMT on 15 January 2023. Aboard the flight dubbed USSF-66 for the US Space Force were two military spacecraft heading to an initial parking orbit, and then a later Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on their way to their final geostationary operating position.  All that part of their journey remained secret lest it game the way to their location to potential enemies.

The payload satellites carried were CBAS 2 (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting Satcom 2) communications relay satellite which has the codename USA 342.  It is designed to augment other satellite military communications relay services especially for military leaders in theatre. LDPE 3A (Rooster 3A) (awaiting its USA Codename) Is an ESPAStar ring spacecraft carrying five hosted payloads on behalf of the US military or related corporations.  Two payloads are being flown directly for the US Space Systems Command: Catcher is a prototype space radiation sensor being flown for the Aerospace Corporation, and WASSAT is a wide area sensor system including four cameras for space situational awareness (SSA) in GEO. Two other SSA payloads are being carried along with an encryption payload.

The partly expendable (px) launch vehicle has its early stages partly reusable in that the two reusable boosters B1064 and B1065, both on their second flights, sent back to the Florida coastline to land back at Landing Zones 2 and 1 (LZ 2 and LZ 1) respectively (Corrected).  The core first stage, B1070 on its first flight, was however not saved for future use. It was flown in “legless” expendable condition to re-enter down range and deliberately crash in an empty state into the Atlantic.

Falcon Heavy launches two satellite USSF-67 mission on 15 January 2022. Courtesy: SpaceX

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