The US Space Systems Command (SSC) and other mission partners have successfully launched the US Space Force (USSF)-44.
It is the first National Security Space Launch mission in the past three years to be launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
The mission was lifted off from Launch Complex LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 1 November.
The successful launch of this multifaceted programme involved efforts from various government and industry partners, including Northrop Grumman.
Among the payloads carried onboard were two space vehicles, including Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA or LDPE-2) and the Shepherd Demonstration mission.
The first space vehicle, LDPE-2, will deliver a total of six small payloads in near-geosynchronous orbits.
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All the satellites will support the enhancement of different technologies, such as communications and space weather sensing.
The second space vehicle has been deployed to test a series of new technologies that will further expedite risk reduction efforts and improve safe rendezvous and proximity operations.
SSC Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power programme executive officer brigadier general Tim Sejba said: “We envision the LDPE programme as a ‘freight train to space’.
“This capability provides our mission partners with frequent and low-cost access to orbit to accelerate technology insertion into new space architectures.”
The USSF-44 mission is the second of three missions included under the LDPE programme.
The first mission was launched in December last year while the final LDPE-3A mission is expected to launch with USSF-67 this December.
SSC Falcon Systems & Operations chief and USSF-44 mission director Dr Walter Lauderdale said: “We have a busy manifest in front of us, and each launch delivers another important capability for our nation and its allies.”