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SpaceX Falcon Heavy Side Booster Set For Launch at Texas Test Facilities

NASASpaceflight.com informs that the company’s McGregor, Texas test facilities have arrived with the first new booster for SpaceX’s next Falcon Heavy mission.
All new boosters are needed for the canonical sign that SpaceX is advancing rapidly towards its next Falcon Heavy launch, the mission-set to bring the US Space Force 44 (USSF-44) satellite(s) directly to geostationary orbit (GEO) by the US military.
USSF-44 will be the first operational direct-to-GEO launch in the history of the company, unless a big surprise in the next five months, landmark years, and many test flights in the making, for SpaceX.
The concept of flying payloads on flight-proven SpaceX rockets has begun to be at least vaguely endorsed by US military officials, but it looks like a long uphill struggle ahead of the business.
After an operational military flight, it took nearly half a decade and four dozen successful booster landings for the US Air Force to even enable SpaceX to attempt to land a Falcon 9 booster.
As a result, for the foreseeable future , the company will likely develop new rockets for its military launches-Falcon Heavy and its three boosters included.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Side Booster Almost Ready For Launch at Texas Test Facilities
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Side Booster Almost Ready For Launch at Texas Test Facilities|Getty Image

One would believe that SpaceX was actually testing a new Falcon 9 first stage on the basis of NASASpaceflight.com ‘s aerial pictures of the newest rocket to arrive in McGregor, Texas.
Notably, the booster appears to have an interstage Falcon 9 attached, although traditionally, Falcon Heavy side boosters have been tested with mounted nosecones.
However, author Thomas Burghardt discovered that the booster, believed to be B1064, is possibly the first of two new Falcon Heavy side boosters required for USSF-44 by examining the arrangement of decals visible on its exterior.
For unexplained reasons, with a years-old interstage mounted, SpaceX designed, transported, and prepared B1064 for acceptance testing, effectively rendering it a Falcon Heavy side booster in Falcon 9 clothing (sans nosecone).
The process of producing three new Falcon Heavy boosters at SpaceX’s Hawthorne, CA factory takes at least half a year from the start of tank welding to shipment in its current configuration.
It must be shipped to McGregor, Texas for at least 4-6 weeks after each booster is completed, to undergo acceptance tests, including at least one wet dress rehearsal (WDR) and static fire.
In other words, if McGregor has only arrived with the first of three new Falcon Heavy Block 5 boosters, SpaceX is likely to have two or three months of work to go before the whole USSF-44 rocket is on site at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A US military official just two weeks ago announced that the USSF-44 Falcon Heavy launch date of SpaceX had slipped from late-2020 (probably November or December) to no earlier than (NET) February 28, 2021.
The cause of the delay is uncertain, but either way, processing Falcon Heavy Flight 4 hardware in Florida (or several weeks of margin where needed) could give SpaceX two full months.
The next Falcon Heavy launch of SpaceX after USSF-44–USSF-52; also planned to fly on all-new boosters — was scheduled to launch NET “early 2021” before the delay of the previous mission was announced.
SpaceX is likely to develop and test new Falcon Heavy boosters, and Falcon Heavy boosters only, from mid-2020 to at least Q1 2021, to meet that timetable.

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