SpaceX launches hefty rocket with 24 satellites
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SpaceX launches hefty rocket with 24 satellites

Photographers set up remote cameras to capture the launch of a SpaceX Falcon heavy rocket on pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2019. The Falcon rocket scheduled to launch later this evening has a payload military and scientific research satellites. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has launched its heftiest rocket with 24 research satellites.

The middle-of-the-night rideshare features a deep space atomic clock, solar sail, clean and green rocket fuel, and even human ashes, including an astronaut’s.

The Falcon Heavy rocket blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Tuesday morning at 2:30. It was the third flight of a Falcon Heavy, but the first ordered up by the military.

The Defence Department mission is expected to provide data to certify the Falcon Heavy — and reused boosters — for future national security launches. It was the military’s first ride on a recycled rocket.

Both side boosters landed back at Cape Canaveral several minutes after liftoff, just as they did after launching in April. But the new core booster missed an ocean platform.

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

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