April 19, 2019

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Sticks Triple Rocket Landing With First Paid Mission

14 April 2019, 05:14 | Dale Webster

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center

This flight followed the first Falcon Heavy test launch in 2018 and involved the Arabsat-6A, a Saudi Arabian communications satellite. Not only did the US launch provider successfully lift the Arabsat payload to orbit, it also successfully landed all three of its boosters back on Earth.

SpaceX has two operational rockets: the Falcon 9, which with 21 launches in 2018 dominates the United States market, and the Falcon Heavy, which as its name suggests is created to lift much heavier payloads into more distant orbits. The red Roadster - with a mannequin at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars.

Note that also yesterday, SpaceX postponed the launch of the carrier rocket Falcon Heavy. After a few minutes, the two strap-on solid fuel boosters separated from the main booster to land side-by-side back at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It will be located at one of Arabsat's orbital positions and will support Arabsat's competitive position as the first operator in the region for satellite capacities and services.

About 34 minutes after liftoff, the shiny silver satellite was successfully deployed. These were recovered from the ocean, he said, and would be reused later this year during a launch of the company's Starlink satellites. But even more spectacularly, all three stages of the rocket successfully returned to Earth just minutes after launch, proving the Flacon Heavy's reliability.

The middle booster, after pushing the payload into space, returned almost 10 minutes later for a successful landing on SpaceX's seafaring drone ship 645 km off the Florida coast.

Make sure you don't miss the rapturous applause from SpaceX's mission control.

During the heavy-lift rocket's debut launch past year, the first attempt to recover the center core failed.

NASA's Saturn V rockets, used for the Apollo moon shots, are the all-time launch leaders so far in size and might.

On Falcon Heavy's maiden voyage into space in February 2018, an estimated 100,000 visitors came to watch. As such, this marks the first commercial mission for SpaceX's powerful rocket. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of those single rockets strapped together.

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