Another Falcon Heavy Launch Coming Up

B1051 dutifully launched Canada's Radarsats and is now safely back on landing zone LZ-4 at Vandenberg. Unfortunately Vandenberg's familiar fog did obscure the countdown prior to the launch and the first few seconds after ignition, but 1051 quickly lifted above the clouds into the blue sky. The fog once again obscured the last moments of its landing, but touchdown could still be seen through the on-board camera.

The second stage engine has shut down and its orbit has been judged good. As I write this the three Radarsats are still attached to the second stage, awaiting deployment in about half an hour. The SpaceX feed should show that.

Edit: All three Radarsats are deployed.

Here's a room full of Canadians at Natural Resources Canada (in Ottawa?) cheering as the rocket lights up in the fog (it's just a bright diffused light) and then rising from out of the fog bank.

The Canadian Space Agency apparently had a live-feed going too (that I didn't know about) with their own commentary. The video below doesn't seem to include the launch, but covers the deployment. (Filling in a lot of the time between launch and deployment when SpaceX was off the air, just playing music.) They give us more information about how the satellites will position themselves, deploy their antennae and solar arrays and phone home. They say that this set-up phase will take something like five days.

After a woman provides this sort of information, a man alternates with her making weird gibberish sounds for a while. (Don't try to figure it out, it's a Canadian thing.)
A factoid that I just learned... the total cost of all three Radarsats totalled more than $1 billion, making this the most expensive total payload that SpaceX has ever launched. The fact that it appears to have gone off flawlessly adds to SpaceX's reputation for reliability.

Here's B1051 emerging from the fog on its way to space (SpaceX photo)

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The almost instant Teslarati news story

Video of first Radarsat deploying

and the second...

Here's a SpaceX photo of B1051 back in the thick wet fog at LZ-4 after putting the three Radarsats into space. A zero-visibility landing... but what does B1051 care, it doesn't have eyes... As they say: "No visibility, no problem!"

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And back at Boca Chica... they are busily polishing the second of their two spaceships. (There's a third, much shinier, one in Cocoa FL across a canal from Cape Canaveral). The size of the little men next to it gives an indication of the scale.

And the latest from BCG about SpaceX placing giant marshmallows on top of the Hopper. (They are the COPVs with their red plastic covers removed and covered in thick white insulating paint.) Still no engine.
Another Falcon Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral is scheduled for 11:30 PM EDT (8:30 PM PDT, 3:30 AM UTC) tonight (Tuesday June 24, before dawn June 25 in Europe). The payload for this STP-2 mission is a flock of 24 satellites, from the Air Force, DoD, NOAA, NASA and universities, requiring 20 commanded deployment operations and four second stage engine burns and associated restarts in space. Satellite deployments will start 12 minutes after launch and continue until 3 1/2 hours after launch. They say that this is one of the more complex and difficult launches that SpaceX has ever attempted. The Air Force wants it that way, since they want it to be a challenging test of SpaceX's abilities so that they know what SpaceX is capable of as a contractor. The two side boosters are slated to return to Cape Canaveral, while the center core is slated to land on SpaceX's 'drone ship'/landing barge OCISLY (Of Course I Still Love You) well out in the Atlantic. (Hopefully it won't fall off this time.)

Watch the night launch live here:

Press kit describing the mission here

Air Force Space and Missiles Center on twitter

SpaceX on twitter

SpaceX photo of the three Falcon Heavy cores being mated with the second stage. Note that the two side cores are 'flight proven'/used, and still a bit smudgy, in comparison to the factory fresh center core. (They can't re-fly center cores if they keep losing them.) Note also the booster along the wall. We saw that before, I guess it's where SpaceX puts its Cape Canaveral boosters that are 'on deck' and next up to the plate.

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Air Force photo of the 'Integrated Payload Stack' inside the Falcon Heavy fairing:

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It took off beautifully, and the two side boosters successfully returned to Cape Canaveral. But... it looks like the center core crashed in its attempt to land on the 'drone ship' out in the Atlantic. (The center cores must have a curse on them.)

Right now, the second stage has started its satellite deployment phase.
(Jun 25, 2019 07:50 AM)Yazata Wrote: It took off beautifully, and the two side boosters successfully returned to Cape Canaveral. But... it looks like the center core crashed in its attempt to land on the 'drone ship' out in the Atlantic. (The center cores must have a curse on them.)

Unbelievable. At least it was a different problem this time than the duh of the "taller booster" needing to be secured by clamps that are adequate, especially in rough seas.
Elon is tweeting about the failure to recover the center core. He says that the center core's more energetic reentry breached the engine bay.

"High entry force & heat breached engine bay & center engine TVC failed" ("TVC" is thrust vector control)

If you look at the videos of it crashing, it appears to be coming down on OCISLY as planned, there's light from above and what looks like exhaust on the deck, then the rocket bounds off at about a 45 degree angle and appears to blow up over the water.

Everyday Astronaut asked Elon whether its on-board computer knew about the engine bay breach and the damaged center engine thrust vectoring and commanded a landing abort. "And did the computer know that and know to divert?!?!"

Elon replies "Most likely. It is programmed to do so."

One bit of good news, besides the fact that all of the satellites ended up in the intended orbits, was that 'Ms Tree', SpaceX's catcher's mitt ship with a giant net on top, finally succeeded in catching a payload fairing. (They are worth several million $.)

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Here's a cool video of the Falcon Heavy launch from ignition through booster separation and boost-back (which is unexpectedly spectacular seen from Cape Canaveral) to the simultaneous landing of the side boosters. Video recorded by Chris Gebhardt and Jamie Groh of

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