NASA technology demonstrations, which one day could help the agency get astronauts to Mars, and science missions, which will look at the space environment around Earth and how it affects us, have launched into space on a Falcon Heavy rocket.
The NASA missions lifted off at 2:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday from NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as part of the Department of Defenses Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) launch.
This launch was a true partnership across government and industry, and it marked an incredible first for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASAs Space Technology Mission Directorate. The NASA missions aboard the Falcon Heavy also benefited from strong collaborations with industry, academia and other government organizations.
The missions, each with a unique set of objectives, will aid in smarter spacecraft design and benefit the agencys Moon to Mars exploration plans by providing greater insight into the effects of radiation in space and testing an atomic clock that could change how spacecraft navigate.