SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launches

SpaceX is preparing a Falcon Heavy launch. A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, from Kennedy Space Center. The satellite will deliver television, internet and mobile phone services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Arabsat-6A is part of the two-satellite Arabsat-6G program for Arabsat. It will launch from the same launch pad that was just used to launch the unmanned Crew Dragon mission. The Falcon Heavy should launch early in April and then there will be a second flight in June. The June flight will re-use the two side boosters from the April flight.
SOURCES- SpaceX, Kennedy Space Center Written By Brian Wang

20 thoughts on “SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launches”

  1. The other thing, which I’m constantly forgetting because it’s so non-intuitive: By my numbers, SS can’t put a payload into GTO without refueling. The problem is that Starship must be reusable, or it makes no sense at all. Payload is pretty sensitive to the delta-v needed for landing. Even if SS only requires 200 m/s to get home, that only allows for 2 tonnes to GTO.

    Weasel words: This is based on a slightly higher dry mass for Starship than the old Adelaide numbers, and a SH that’s very similar to Adelaide. These numbers are obviously very, very stale, so they may have done something here. But the basic architecture really isn’t oriented around GTO missions.

    Now: With one refueling, you can get almost 36 t to GTO and have 725 m/s left for landing. But that begs two questions:

    1) Are there enough customers willing to fate-share themselves together to profitably take advantage of 36 t of birds?

    2) Are those customers willing to tolerate the complexity of a mission that requires refueling?

    My guess is that the answer, for a lot of customers, is likely to be “no” to both questions. If so, FH seems to have a future for quite a while.

  2. Ah, gotcha – thanks for the clarification. That could certainly put a damper on things, if true.

  3. I’m pretty sure that they can’t do launches to high inclinations from Texas for range safety issues. Usually you need about 1500 km downrange with no significant population centers under the ground track. (That varies based on the reliability of the vehicle, but SH/SS is new and reliability will be assumed to be low until proven otherwise.)

    Looks like the highest inclination they can get from BC is about 32 degrees, through the Yucatan Channel.

  4. It’s that difficulty that has indirectly led to FH’s shorter-than-anticipated lifespan, I think. Once the maiden launch date started slipping and slipping Elon saw the writing on the wall and doubled down on developing BFR. The F9/FH architecture just isn’t productive enough to support the vision. They aren’t even bothering to human-rate FH at this point.

  5. Not sure I understand the argument. SpaceX seems to be hinting pretty strongly that all initial SH/SS launches will take place from Texas anyway.

  6. This is all assuming SpaceX is even still interested in USG contracting by the time SH/SS is up and running. Private business alone could turn out to be pretty robust.

  7. Really? That few missions? For something that Musk said was “insanely difficult” to build? If true then that’s a shame.

  8. There’s no SH/SS pad at Canaveral, so direct launches to high inclinations (e.g. more than half the Starlink launches) are a lot more straightforward with FH. Eventually, SpaceX can either build a new pad at Canaveral for SH/SS, or they can incur the extra complexity/cost to refuel on-orbit and do a big honkin’ plane change, but my guess is that FH has more launches to go than you think.

  9. Word is that SpaceX will have separate center cores for the two missions. The launch profile for GTO missions has the ASDS much, much further downrange than ever before, which is another way of saying that that baby is going to reenter hotter than ever before.

    Should be interesting. If it comes through relatively unscathed (and SpaceX is clearly planning for the possibility that it won’t), that may mean that SpaceX can up-rate the payload to GTO for a reusable F9.

  10. Yeah, there is an inherent slowness to all these government contracts.

    SH/SS will need to launch several times before they consider it trustworthy enough for using it for Air Force launches. For NASA crews even more.

  11. Depends on how long it takes the Air Force to certify using BFS/BFR.

    Until then Air Force uses F9H.

  12. If Elon has his way and gets Starship/SuperHeavy off the ground in the next few years we probably won’t get more than 8 or 9 more FH missions before it’s retired, assuming the manifest holds at current volume of 1-2 launches per year.

  13. This is the real test for FH … as great as the first flight with it’s light playload was … been looking forward to this for about a year. Success with this FH mission + 9 more FH missions and we can consider FH to be a reliable backup to SHSS-Cargo in case that is delayed. Hopefully folks are starting to design payloads that can take advantage of this. Of course NASA could use it to send probes directly to planets and asteroids … but getting FH certified for NASA could take years.

  14. Bigelow has been listed as a future launch right after the Falcon Heavy launch for at least four months now, going by a Reddit conversation then. They didn’t have any luck figuring it out.

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