Falcon Heavy launches USSF-67 mission18. 1. 2023
On Jan. 15, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched for the first time in 2023 with two payloads for the Space Force deployed directly into geostationary orbit (GEO) from LC-39A. USSF-67 marked Falcon Heavy’s fifth flight since its 2018 debut and Space Force’s first national security mission of 2023.
Both side boosters used on this mission (B1064 and B1065) were flying for the second time meanwhile the center core (B1070) was being expanded. Not recovering the core stage allows SpaceX to increase the vehicle’s performance as the recovery requires two extra burns needing more fuel. Falcon Heavy lifted off at 22:56 UTC. Two and a half minutes after liftoff, both side boosters separated and performed the boostback burn, and then both landed successfully about eight and a half minutes after launch. These landings marked SpaceX’s 163rd and 164th successful booster recoveries. They will be refurbished for future national security space missions.
The payload consisted of a U.S. Space Force’s Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM (CBAS)-2 communications satellite, used to relay data from existing satellites. The second spacecraft was the Long Duration Propulsive ESPA, or LDPE-3A, made by Northrop Grumman, which carried 5 technological demonstration payloads. About six hours after liftoff, the Space Systems Command confirmed the mission was successful.