Watch a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch a classified military payload today after delay
By Mike Wall
last updated about 2 hours ago
Liftoff is scheduled for 5:56 p.m. ET.
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket stands atop Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of the launch of a classified USSF-67 mission for the U.S. Space Force. Liftoff is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)
Update: SpaceX is now aiming to launch its first Falcon Heavy rocket of 2023 on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT).
SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket will be back in action on Sunday (Jan. 15), and you can watch the liftoff live.
A Falcon Heavy is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida Sunday at 5:56 p.m. EST (2255 GMT), one day later than previously announced, on a classified mission for the U.S. Space Force called USSF-67.
Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. We’ll host the company’s webcast when the time comes.
Sunday’s launch will be the fifth overall for the Falcon Heavy. The burly rocket debuted in February 2018 with a memorable test flight that sent SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk‘s Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun, with a spacesuit-clad mannequin named Starman in the driver’s seat.
The Falcon Heavy launched again in April 2019 and June 2019, sending operational satellites aloft each time. But the rocket didn’t lift off again until November of last year, on the USSF- 44 mission for the Space Force. The 40-month gap was due primarily to delays in getting customer payloads ready, according to space industry analysts.
Like USSF-44, USSF-67 is a classified mission. We do know a bit about the coming flight, however.
The main payload is a military communications satellite called Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM 2, which the Falcon Heavy will send to geostationary orbit, about 22,200 miles (35,700 kilometers) above Earth. Also flying Saturday is a rideshare spacecraft called Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-3A, a payload adapter that can hold up to six small satellites, according to EverydayAstronaut.com(opens in new tab).
LDPE-3A will carry five Space Force payloads on USSF-67. Among them are “two operational prototypes for enhanced situational awareness and an operational prototype crypto/interface encryption payload providing secure space-to-ground communications capability,” Space Force officials said in an emailed statement on Friday (Jan. 13).
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The Falcon Heavy consists of three