STP-2 (Falcon Heavy)
25 June 2019
Space Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 2:30 a.m. on 25 June 2019. The STP-2 multi-manifest (rideshare) launch demonstrated the capabilities of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle to provide critical data supporting certification for future National Security Space Launch (NSSL) missions.

Falcon Heavy’s side boosters for the STP-2 mission previously supported the Arabsat-6A mission in April 2019. Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station almost eight minutes after launch. Falcon Heavy’s center core crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in a failed attempt to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship.

An almost nine-minute time exposure shows the arc of the Falcon Heavy as it heads into orbit along with separation of the two side boosters. The double lines at top are the entry burns of the two side boosters starting a little over seven minutes after launch as they head back for the Landing Zones at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Then we lose sight of the boosters as they fall toward the ground, restarting their engines for the landing burn, which can be seen as the two short lines near the horizon leading to a successful touchdown of both boosters approximately 8 minutes and 41 seconds after launch.
The Falcon Heavy launch vehicle climbs to orbit trailing a massive flame from its three boosters.

From the SpaceX STP-2 press release:
The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) teamed with multiple commercial, national, and international mission partners for the historic Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) launch. SMC procured the mission to provide spaceflight for advanced research and development satellites from multiple DoD research laboratories, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and universities.

The STP-2 mission will use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle to perform 20 commanded deployment actions and place 24 separate spacecraft in three different orbits. The spacecraft include the Air Force Research Laboratory Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) satellite; the NOAA-sponsored Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC-2) constellation; four NASA experiments; and many other missions.

The DoD Space Test Program accelerates space technologies into operational capabilities by providing space access for cutting edge, DoD-sponsored experiments and demonstrations. STP, through its Johnson Space Center location, is the single face to NASA for all DoD payloads on the International Space Station and other human-rated launch vehicles, for both domestic and international partners.

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