Falcon Heavy carries 24 satellites into orbit in SpaceX’s “most difficult launch ever” (video-photos)

The two side boosters came down safely but the center core narrowly missed the landing on SpaceX’s drone ship & exploded on impact with the water

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket has lifted off again, this time embarking on what the company calls one of the most challenging launches in its history.

With a slew of government satellites and important spacecraft onboard, the world’s most powerful operational vehicle took off into the night sky for the first time, on a mission to deliver payloads into three different orbits.

“This will be our most difficult launch ever,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Twitter leading up to today’s STP-2 mission.

The launch tasked the Falcon Heavy vehicle with completing four separate upper-stage engine burns, three different payload deployments and then fire the engines on the three separated boosters to bring them safely back down to Earth.

Adding another layer of complexity is the fact that the side boosters used for today’s mission, or two of the three boosters making up the Falcon Heavy’s first stage, flew in an earlier mission in April, making this the first mission to reuse side boosters from an earlier Falcon Heavy flight.

That April mission was the first time SpaceX managed to recover all three boosters, with only two of the three recovered during Falcon Heavy’s first outing in 2018.

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