MIAMI.- Social media and chat group posts were filled this Sunday with images of what looked like a ball of fire in the sky over South Florida. Google searches show locals’ interest in knowing what was going on in the sky with terms like ‘Miami meteorite’, ‘Florida meteorite’, but that wasn’t really what it was all about .

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday to put satellites from telecommunications companies ViaSat, Astranis and Gravity Space into orbit, a launch that had been postponed three times.

From this area of ​​South Florida, the rocket could be seen criss-crossing the sky and this is the most rational explanation of what happened.

The 57-minute window for Sunday’s launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39a opened at 7:29 p.m. local time (2329 GMT) and liftoff was exactly one hour later.

Less than five minutes in the air, the two boosters flanking the main rocket separated as expected, followed by the first rocket stage, which is recoverable.

The three satellites carried by the Falcon 9 Heavy will arrive in geostationary orbit, that is to say at an altitude of approximately 35,000 kilometers above the equator, between 4:30 and 5 hours after takeoff.

Images captured by Steve Birstok from the Sawgrass Mall area in Sunrise, this Sunday around 8:30 p.m.

Last Friday, just 59 seconds from liftoff, SpaceX decided to abort the launch of its super rocket for unreported reasons.

The launches had previously been canceled last Wednesday and Thursday due to poor weather conditions in the region.

The main load is the ViaSat-3 Americas broadband satellite, weighing about 5,400 kilos and the size of a school bus, which is the largest capacity of any in existence today.

The ViaSat 3 Americas, built by Boeing, is a high-powered spacecraft that will transmit Internet signals to rural consumers and passengers on planes and ships in North and South America.

The Californian company plans to launch two other satellites of the same class later to cover other regions of the planet. The second is currently undergoing environmental testing at Boeing’s factory in El Segundo, California, and will be used for communications in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The third ViaSat-3 satellite is now in the final phase of integration and payload testing at Viasat’s facilities in Tempe, Arizona, and will focus on the Asia-Pacific region, complementing Viasat’s global service coverage. .

Precisely, Viasat announced this Sunday that the third ViaSat 3 satellite, intended to serve the Asia-Pacific region and called ViaSat 3 APAC, will no longer be launched on the Ariane 6 rocket from Arianespace,

The Ariane 6 rocket, which the European Space Agency and ArianeGroup are developing to replace Ariane 5, is now slated for release later this year, after years of delay, and the California-based company has decided to look for another supplier, according to .

Another of the satellites launched this Sunday by the Falcon 9 Heavy is Arcturus from the firm Astranis, weighing just over 300 kilos and which will provide high-speed connectivity in the Alaska region and its surroundings, and the third is GS -1, a cubesat to be operated by Washington-based Gravity Space.

This was the Falcon 9 Heavy’s sixth flight since 2018.

The Falcon Heavy consists of three Falcon 9 rocket cores that form a compact soaring booster, powered by 27 Merlin engines and powered by 18 commercial aircraft.

According to SpaceX, the Falcon Heavy is considered “one of the most powerful operational rockets in the world” and can lift nearly 64 metric tons into orbit.

The 70-meter-tall, 12-meter-wide rocket made its first test flight in 2018, when it sent a Tesla car into space, which was followed by four more launches, including the last with the USSF-67 classified mission flown in January. this year on behalf of the US Space Force.

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