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Air Force, SpaceX Launch First DoD Mission on Falcon Heavy Rocket

Jeff Brody

SpaceX has launched its Falcon Heavy rocket on a mission to help the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center deliver 24 satellites for the Department of Defense and other government customers into space, TechCrunch reported Tuesday.

The Space Test Program-2 mission lifted off Tuesday at 2:30 a.m. Eastern time at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and aims to demonstrate the first reuse of space flight hardware for DoD.

STP-2 also marks the rocket's first multipayload, multiorbit demonstration.

The launch vehicle is equipped with a pair of side boosters that were recovered upon the conclusion of the Arabsat-6A mission in April.

SMC said Monday it expects Falcon Heavy to deploy all 24 space experiments to three distinct orbits through various upper-stage burns and maneuvers.

The Pentagon, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association sponsored the payload technologies onboard the rocket in efforts to improve approaches to forecast weather, monitor space environment, transmit communications and maximize propulsion.

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