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SpaceX is gearing up for its busiest Falcon Heavy megarocket launch yet and now, thanks to the U.S. Air Force, we know what the epic rideshare looks like.
When the next SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches on Monday (June 24) from NASA's historic Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the heavy-lift rocket will be carrying 24 different satellites for the Air Force's Space Test Program-2 mission. If you're wondering what two dozen satellites look like inside a Falcon Heavy nose cone, wonder no more.
Twitter - Post - Tuesday - June - Air
In a Twitter post Tuesday (June 18), the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center in charge of the STP-2 mission showed just how the 24 satellites are stacked inside the payload fairing.
"The 3,700 kg [8,157 pounds] Integrated payload Stack (IPS) for STP2 has been completed!" Air Force officials wrote in the post. "Have a look before it blasts off on the first DoD Falcon Heavy launch!"
STP-2 - Mission - Window - Monday - Night
The STP-2 mission is scheduled to launch sometime during a four-hour window that opens Monday night at 11:30 p.m. EDT (0330 June 25 GMT). It will be the third Falcon Heavy launch for SpaceX , but the first to carry more than one satellite at time.
The first Falcon Heavy mission, a test flight in February 2018, carried a Tesla roadster owned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Starman, a mannequin dressed in an official SpaceX spacesuit. (The Roadster and Starman are still out there in deep space.)
Satellite - Kilograms - SpaceX - Falcon - Heavy
A single massive satellite, the 14,241-pound (6,460 kilograms) Arabsat 6A launched atop SpaceX's second Falcon Heavy on April 11 of this year. The two first-stage side boosters used to launch Arabsat 6A will be reused on the STP-2 mission, SpaceX has said.
The 24 satellites of the STP-2 mission comprise a diverse group of spacecraft built by NASA,...
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