June 25th Falcon Heavy STP-2
2:30 am From LC-39A Kennedy Space Center, Fl. atop a Falcon Heavy Rocket
In the early hours along the Space Coast, the third ever Falcon Heavy takes flight, launching the STP-2 for the U.S. Air Force. STP-2 contains a payload of twenty five small spacecraft, including COSMIC-2 constellation to provide radio data. Also are eight cubesat nanosatellites, LightSail, CPIM, and the Deep Space Atomic Clock.
Once again SpaceX attempted to land all three boosters, with the side boosters landing perfectly on LZ-1, and LZ-2 back at Canaveral Air Force Station. The core booster crashed into the ocean shortly off the side of the drone ship " Of Course I Still Love You", though this was the most ambitious landing to date, with the ship positions roughly 1,200 km down range into the Atlantic Ocean.
Lift off of STP-2 from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center.
To date SpaceX has made landing Falcon 9 rockets a common site, but has yet to obtain a successful landing for a Falcon Heavy in their three missions now. In April the booster did land on the drone ship but was later lost due to heavy seas. With another first for the company, SpaceX managed to one of the two payload fairings was caught on its return to earth. Two ships, the GO MS TREE, and the GO MS CHIEF are boats with very large nets suspended above them. They attempt to catch the fairings to make re usability a little more viable with the fairing costing around five million dollars. Elon Musk has thought of almost everything. This has been a long running effort to catch and reuse these components and can now add a catch to their resume of rocket launching firsts.