SpaceX Launches Space Force Payload

    SpaceX Launches Space Force Payload
    Last updated Jan 17, 2023
    Image credit: Fox Business


    • SpaceX launched the fifth Falcon Heavy rocket mission, dubbed "USSF-67," on Sunday, carrying a classified military payload to orbit for the US Space Force.[1]
    • The Falcon Heavy left pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The 27 Merlin engines powering the rocket's central core and twin strap-on boosters generated more than 5M pounds of thrust.[2]
    • SpaceX first launched the Falcon Heavy in 2018, with owner Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster attached as a test payload on the launch. The car is still in space, taking a trajectory around the sun.[3]
    • Although currently SpaceX's most powerful operational rocket, the Heavy will be dwarfed by the fully reusable Super Heavy/Starship, which currently is being prepared in Boca Chica, Texas, for a first test flight. The Super Heavy will generate 16M pounds of thrust.[2]
    • Sunday's launch was the second Falcon Heavy launch in the last three months. This comes on the heels of a three-year interlude between the third and fourth missions.[4]
    • The rocket carried two military communication satellites, one being the CBAS 2 satellite, which is the second "Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM" satellite. The Space Force has revealed that it will operate in geosynchronous orbit and will provide communication relays to the US armed forces.[5]


    Narrative A

    SpaceX is accomplishing launch milestones not seen since the Soviet space program in the 1980s. It's remarkable how a private business has made so much progress. While there will be challenges to SpaceX meeting Musk’s aim of launching at least 100 rockets this year, so far the company has given no reason to doubt it.

    Narrative B

    What SpaceX and other private companies are accomplishing in the commercial space travel realm is exciting. However, more must be done to ensure that the explosion in private space ventures is regulated. International norms must be established to avoid conflict and overcrowding in orbit.

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