SpaceX launched its most challenging mission to date aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket from the historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre earlier this morning. During the 6-hour mission, the rocket’s upper stage will perform four planned burns to deploy 25 payloads into three separate obits.
The Falcon Heavy carrying the 25 STP-2 payloads lifted off from the Kennedy Space Centre at 06:30 UTC. The rocket was powered by two flight-proven boosters and a brand new core stage.
Following a successful launch, the two boosters touched down safely at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Zones 1 and 2. The central core was scheduled to touch down on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed 1,236 kilometres off the coast of Florida. However, the landing was unsuccessful with the booster impacting with the water just meters from the droneship.
Although the recovery of the central core failed, SpaceX did manage to capture a fairing half in the Ms. Tree recovery ship’s net for the first time. The second half will be recovered from the ocean and the two halves will be reused aboard another mission.
The STP-2 mission is currently in a coast phase awaiting the next satellite deployment window. Currently, a number of satellites have already been deployed including the Oculus-ASR, FalconSat 7, ARMADILLO, PSAT 2, BRICSAT 2 and Prometheus and LightSail 2. The remaining payload deployments will be broadcast live on the STP-2 YouTube livestream.