SpaceX to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket for first time in three years

SpaceX will today launch its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time in more than three years.

Elon Musk's company is aiming to send two US Space Force craft into orbit, two years after the mission was originally scheduled.

The repeated delays have been due to issues with the payload, which in this case includes a microsatellite dubbed TETRA-1 which has been created for "various prototype missions".

The Falcon Heavy rocket has not launched since June 2019, when it lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center carrying two-dozen satellites, a deep space atomic clock, the ashes of astronaut Bill Pogue, and more.

At the time, it was deemed SpaceX's most difficult launch.

Since then, the firm has carried out dozens of launches using its other rockets, including blasting its first all-civilian crew into space on a three-day journey.

Mr Musk has also been busy - this is the first major SpaceX launch since he bought Twitter.

Tuesday's launch - due for 9.40am local time (1.40pm UK) - will be the first sporting three Falcon 9 boosters, which are needed to provide the necessary thrust for the Falcon Heavy.

The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world, according to SpaceX.

The Falcon 9s launch on a regular basis themselves, such as when they take SpaceX's Starlink satellites into orbit.

November is set to be a busy month for significant space missions, with NASA's long-delayed Artemis 1 and the first rocket launch from UK soil also due.

And next month, SpaceX is hoping to launch its giant Starship rocket system into orbit for the first time.

It will be a pivotal demonstration flight as it aims to fly NASA astronauts to the moon in the next few years.

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