OREANDA-NEWSThe Falcon Heavy launch vehicle with 24 satellites, a research laboratory and an atomic clock on board started on Tuesday from the launch pad 39A of the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch of the launch, which has become the third for a rocket of this type, is conducted on the SpaceX website.

The launch took place at 02:30 AM US time (09:30 Moscow time). A few minutes later there was a separation of the two side accelerators, and then - the discharge of the first stage. These side accelerators have already been used to launch the Arabsat 6A Saudi communications satellite into orbit on April 11. This time they are used for the first time in the interests of the USAF, notes SpaceX. Spent lateral accelerators are planned to be placed on two platforms of the Air Force base at Cape Canaveral, and the first stage of the carrier - on the floating platform "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean.

The cargo, with a total weight of 3.7 tons, was prepared by the research laboratories of the US Department of Defense, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. The mission, called STP-2, provides for the deployment of 24 vehicles in three different orbits. On board are the DSX laboratory, designed to study the conditions of propagation of radio signals in the atmosphere, a device for assessing the use of the "solar sail" for movement in space, satellite constellation (COSMIC-2) to study the Earth’s climate and ionosphere, as well as the atomic clocks created by NASA specialists with an error of 1 second in 9 million years.

Falcon Heavy was launched for the first time on February 6, 2018. Then the company could not land the first stage: it fell into the ocean, not 100 meters from the platform. The personal electric vehicle of the SpaceX founder Ilona Mask, the Tesla Roadster, which flew in the direction of Mars, was used as the payload. Behind the wheel of the car was placed a mannequin in a space suit.