SpaceX 3rd Falcon Heavy Rocket Goes Vertical at KSC Launch Pad for Static Fire Test and 1st Night Launch: Photos

Focused view of full SpaceX Falcon Heavy with a payload fairing
attached stands vertical at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 9
a.m. EDT June 19, 2019 after horizontal rollout at 1 a.m. and raising at about
6 a.m. Launch on the STP-2 mission for the U.S. Air Force is slated for June
24, 2019 at 11:30 p.m. EDT.  See
2 sooty side boosters recycled from Arabsat 6A launch in April 2019.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 19 June 2019



PLAYALINDA BEACH/MERRITT
ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, FL 
  The 3rd launch of the SpaceX
Falcon Heavy slated for next week on the 1st ever mission for the US Air Force is inching
closer to reality after the worlds most powerful rocket was raised vertical at
Launch Complex 39A on the Florida Space Coast this morning, Wednesday, June 19,
as engineers prepared the gigantic rocket for the requisite static fire test to
confirm its readiness for launch.



Liftoff of the Space Test Program-2
(STP-2) mission STP-2 mission paid for by the Department
of Defense (DoD) and managed by the U.S Air Force Space
and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is targeted for launch on June 24 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida –
pending a good outcome of the hold down static fire test.



Enjoy our Space UpClose photos of the triple core Falcon Heavy rocket captured
today, June 19, after it was raised vertical at pad 39A. 



Check back as the gallery grows.


UPDATE: The static fire test of the 27 Merlin 1 D
first stage engines
was completed late this
evening and I’ll publish my eyewitness photos soon in a separate story.



The full SpaceX Falcon Heavy with a payload fairing
attached stands vertical at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in
this wide angle view at 9 a.m. EDT June 19, 2019 after horizontal rollout at 1
a.m. and raising at about 6 a.m. Launch on the STP-2 mission for the U.S. Air
Force is slated for June 24, 2019 at 11:30 p.m. EDT.  See 2 sooty side
boosters recycled from Arabsat 6A launch in April 2019. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The 23 story tall Falcon 9 was rolled out horizontally on
the transporter erector (TE) around midnight and reached the top of pad 39A by
around 1 a.m. to prepare for the static fire test. 
The pad team raised the rocket at dawn in the 6 a.m. hour.
The erection took about 30 minutes.  

The 3700 kg payload of 24 satellites and the payload fairing
apparently were not actually attached to the rocket for the hold down test –
rather it was a “non-flight” unit used for acoustic testing at the request of
the Air Force – says Spaceflight Now.

SpaceX has not yet responded to my request for
clarification.  

Focused view of full SpaceX
Falcon Heavy with a payload fairing attached stands vertical at Launch Complex
39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. EDT June 19, 2019 after horizontal
rollout at 1 a.m. and raising at about 6 a.m. Launch on the STP-2 mission for
the U.S. Air Force is slated for June 24, 2019 at 11:30 p.m. EDT.  See 2 sooty side boosters recycled from Arabsat 6A launch
in April 2019. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The static fire test target time was delayed
multiple times throughout the day, unsurprisingly, as the team worked to
through pad operations and awful stormy weather, strong gusty winds and
rainstorm battered and inundated the Cape Canaveral region in the afternoon. 



The launch window opens at 11:30 p.m. EDT and extend four
hours to 3:30 a.m. June 25. 



This Falcon Heavy blastoff is sure to be spectacular being
the first nighttime launch of the triple stick rocket.



It will also feature the first double nighttime landing of
the two side boosters back at the Cape at Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1). 



Massive crowds of spectators are expected and already arriving
from around the world. 

The full SpaceX Falcon Heavy with a payload fairing
attached stands vertical at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in
this wide angle view at 9 a.m. EDT June 19, 2019 after horizontal rollout at 1
a.m. and raising at about 6 a.m. Launch on the STP-2 mission for the U.S. Air
Force is slated for June 24, 2019 at 11:30 p.m. EDT.  See 2 sooty side
boosters recycled from Arabsat 6A launch in April 2019. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com



The Falcon Heavy will deliver 24 science and military satellites
to space on the first ever mission for the DOD that also includes four
satellites for NASA and one for the Planetary Society.
The 24 satellites will be delivered to 3 separate orbits and
inclinations as the second stage is fired for a record 4 separate times in
another test of its capabilities. 







“The STP-2 mission will be among the most challenging
launches in SpaceX history with four separate upper-stage engine burns, three
separate deployment orbits, a final propulsive passivation maneuver and a total
mission duration of over six hours,” SpaceX says.



“In
addition, the U.S. Air Force plans to reuse side boosters from the Arabsat-6A
Falcon Heavy launch, recovered after a return to launch site landing, making it
the first reused Falcon Heavy ever flown for the U.S. Air Force.”
 












Watch my commentary about the Falcon Heavy
launch at News 6 Orlando here:

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/space-news/third-falcon-heavy-launch-targeted-on-the-space-coast



Dr. Ken
Kremer/Space UpClose interviewed by CBS 6 Orlando TV News WKMG on June 19, 2019
about the Falcon Heavy STP-2 launch targeted for June 24. Credit: CBS 6
WKMG/Ken Kremer screenshot

Ken will be onsite at the Kennedy Space Center
for live coverage of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy STP-2 launch. 



Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the
KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about
space topics.

………….


Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Ken’s upcoming outreach events:


Jun 22-24: Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
FL, evenings.  Learn more about the upcoming
/recent Falcon Heavy, NASA 2024 Moon landing
goal, SpaceX Starlink-1,
SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-17
launch to ISS, SpaceX Demo-1 launch/test failure, SpaceX Beresheet
launch, NASA missions, ULA Atlas & Delta launches,
Northrop Grumman Antares, SpySats and more. 



Ken’s photos for sale

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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