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Updated December 28th, 2023 at 20:23 IST

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy to launch 'mysterious' mission for USSF on Dec 29. Watch LIVE

The Falcon Heavy will lift off when a short launch window opens at 6:37 am IST from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX said.

Reported by: Harsh Vardhan
SpaceX
The Falcon Heavy rocket at the launch pad. | Image:SpaceX
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SpaceX is targeting the launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket on December 29 in a secretive mission for the US Space Force (USSF). 

The rocket will lift off when a short launch window opens at 6:37 am IST from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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The Falcon Heavy. Image: SpaceX

The mission USSF-52 was initially scheduled for launch on December 10 but was delayed multiple times due to unfavourable weather conditions and technical issues.

Where to watch the launch live?

You can watch the mission lift off live on SpaceX's official X account. The livestream will begin 15 minutes prior to the launch.

According to SpaceX, it will be the Falcon Heavy's ninth mission to date and the fifth of the twin side boosters strapped to the rocket. These boosters, which will return to land after the launch, have previously supported two USSF missions, the Hughes JUPTER3 and NASA's Psyche mission. 

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What is so secretive about the mission?

For USSF-52, the Falcon Heavy rocket is carrying the X-37B space plane manufactured by Boeing and operated by the USSF. While this space plane is used to demonstrate new technologies and conduct scientific investigation, this mission is secretive in the sense that its purpose is classified when it comes to the USSF.

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The X-37B space plane. Image: Boeing/US Space Force

The space plane has the same design as NASA's Space Shuttle but measures just around nine meters as opposed to the Shuttle which was 37 meters long.

The upcoming mission will be the seventh to be conducted by USSF. The space plane first launched under the Orbital Test Vehicle-1 mission (OTV-1) on April 22, 2010 and the most recent one was launched on May 17, 2020 and ended after over two years on November 12, 2022.

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In addition to the X-37B, the Falcon Heavy will also be carrying NASA's 'Seeds-2' project to test the effects of radiation and spaceflight on plant seeds. 
 

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 20:23 IST

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