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Elon Musk: SpaceX gears up for Falcon Heavy launch

Elon Musk: SpaceX gears up for Falcon Heavy launch

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Jupiter 3/EchoStar XXIV communications satellite on Wednesday, July 27 at 08:30 from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The satellite will be the heaviest payload ever launched into Geostationary Transfer Orbit. The satellite, built by Maxar, weighs 9,200 kg (20,282 lb) and carries 14 solar arrays that, once deployed, will span 127 feet.

The satellite will be able to handle 500+ gigabytes of capacity and provide speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. The satellite’s final orbit will be 22,300 miles above the equator at 95 degrees west latitude and over the Americas.

The satellite was recently flown via an Antonov An-224 from California, where it landed at Space Florida’s launch and landing facility, where it was unloaded and transferred to the payload processing facility and incorporated into the Falcon Heavy fairing. And, if not already, it will be attached to the Falcon Heavy.

This Falcon Heavy mission was originally rumored to be a dual droneship landing, however, after the center core booster separated, SpaceX switched to side boosters to get them back to the landing site.

The center core of this booster, B1079, is on its first and last flight as it will be expended to achieve maximum performance and splash about 1,500 km into the ocean.

The side boosters for this flight are B1064 and B1065, which previously supported the USSF-44 and USSF-67 Falcon Heavy missions. The boosters will descend approximately 8 minutes after launch, but if skies are clear, the sky will create a beautiful ‘nebula effect’ as the engine plumes interact in the upper atmosphere and then announce their return with six sonic booms.

The Falcon Heavy side cores are separating from the center core. The current weather outlook for launch shows an 85 percent chance of acceptable weather for launch, however, if unable to launch, they have another opportunity the next day at the same time, but with a 70 percent chance of the weather being acceptable.

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