Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy rocket

On Thursday, US space company SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy with a Saudi Arabsat-6A satellite on board and successfully landed the rocket's side boosters and central core back on Earth.

The rocket's mission was to deliver the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into orbit.

The launch was an important for SpaceX as this was only the second time the Falcon Heavy has launched and the first with a paying customer.

Roughly three minutes after clearing the launch pad, Falcon Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronised landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just like it did for the rocket's debut past year.

The main booster then made a spot-on landing on the SpaceX "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

For the first time, SpaceX succeeded in landing all three Falcon Heavy boosters.

Falcon Heavy carried a communications satellite forSaudi-based telecom firm Arabsat, which will beam internet and television services over Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

During Falcon Heavy Flight 1, the rocket's center core - B1032 - was destroyed when a failure to reignite its landing Merlin 1D engines resulted in the booster slamming into the ocean at more than 300 miles per hour (~500 km/h). Falcon Heavy's third launch could happen as early as June 2019 - two months from now - if everything is safely recovery.

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SpaceX expects the Falcon Heavy launch will be held on Thursday, April 11.

This successful landing of the three rocket parts represents a new step in the trajectory of the company, owned by billionaire busineesman Elon Musk, whose policy is to re-use rockets in order to reduce the cost of space travel. But the middle booster missed a seaborne platform it was created to land on, and instead splashed into the ocean.

The next SpaceX mission from Florida, CRS-17, was recently announced for 5:55 a.m. April 26.

Those on the ground likely viewed the mission by the sound it generated.

Elon Musk's Tesla roadster launched from the Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018 with a dummy driver named Starman.

SpaceX will now get to work on refurbishing the three boosters in preparation for another flight in June or July.

Bridenstine said everything is on the space table as NASA strives to meet the White House's goal of landing astronauts back on the moon by 2024.

About 34 minutes after the liftoff, the satellite was deployed into the orbit.

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