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SpaceX Falcon Heavy to Launch State-of-the-Art Space Technology for NASA


An epic launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy – the second space flight of this rocket line – brings together a set of NASA technologies to get its own tower into orbit.

Falcon Heavy made his first operational flight yesterday (April 11), sending the Arabsat-6A communications satellite aloft while landing on its three rockets – including the core and two boosters.

"We are delighted with the successful launch and landing of the first leg of the Falcon Heavy yesterday," said Jim Reuter, NASA's Acting Associate Administrator for the space mission leadership, said in a statement. "We have important technologies ready to fly, and this success helps us to go down that path."

Related: SpaceX's Amazing Falcon Heavy: Launch of Arabsat-6A in Photos

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SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launched its first commercial launch on April 11, 2019

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launched its first commercial launch on April 11, 2019

(Image: © SpaceX)

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The 27 engines of the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, nine per booster, launch the gigantic rocket over launch pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 11, 2019.

The 27 engines of the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, nine per booster, launch the gigantic rocket over launch pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 11, 2019.

(Image: © SpaceX)

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Secondary boosters that launched SpaceX's second Falcon Heavy rocket perform a side-by-side landing on platforms at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Florida, after launch.

Secondary boosters that launched SpaceX's second Falcon Heavy rocket perform a side-by-side landing on platforms at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Florida, after launch.

(Image: © SpaceX)

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The Arabsat 6A communications satellite is breaking away from the second leg of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launch on April 11, 2019, putting an end to the success of take-off and return to orbit.

The Arabsat 6A communications satellite is breaking away from the second leg of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launch on April 11, 2019, putting an end to the success of take-off and return to orbit.

(Image: © SpaceX)

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Half of the payload cap that was protecting the Arabsat-6A satellite during the second launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is based on a recovery ship on April 11, 2019.

Half of the payload cap that was protecting the Arabsat-6A satellite during the second launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is based on a recovery ship on April 11, 2019.

(Image: © Elon Musk via Twitter)

NASA plans to launch several space experiments simultaneously, all aimed at improving the design and performance of future spacecraft. The missions will depart from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of the US Air Force Space Program 2 (STP-2) mission. The flow the scheduled launch date is in June, according to Spaceflight Now; In the same statement, NASA said Air Force and SpaceX would prepare for launch in the coming months.

Related: SpaceX recovers Falcon's heavy nose cone and sees it again this year

One of NASA's experiments involves a pair of cubesats, relatively inexpensive little satellites the size of a bread box. Together, these devices constitute the E-TBEx (Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment) experiment and will measure how "bubbles" (or distortions) in the upper atmosphere interfere with radio signals and GPS. The agency hopes to better predict these disruptions to improve future communication technologies.

The Falcon Heavy will also launch NASA's Green Propellant Infusion mission, which will test an alternative to the traditional chemical propulsion used in rockets. It will test a new fuel / oxidant mixture called hydroxylammonium nitrate, which, according to NASA, is safer to handle and better for the environment than hydrazine, a popular but toxic product rocket engine fuel.

NASA's mission is complemented by the atomic clock in deep space, an extremely accurate watch that can improve navigation, and by the Space Environment Testbeds device, which examines the impact solar radiation near the Earth on the probe material.

The Planetary Society, a non-profit organization, also took the initiative to steal a payload when launching the STP-2 Falcon Heavy. This device, called LightSail, will test if a cubesat can navigate the Earth's orbit using a 344-square-foot (32-square-meter) solar sail.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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