SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy rocket

Enlarge Image The SpaceX Falcon Heavy sits on the launchpad in Florida.                  SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket has conducted its second flight on Thursday, April 11, carrying its first customer payload: the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into space.

Just over a month after its Crew Dragon capsule mated with the International Space Station in the first commercial docking with the ISS, it successfully launched and landed its Falcon Heavy for mission Arabsat-6A.

Its successful landing of the center core from a Falcon Heavy is a relief for SpaceX after a similar attempt ended in disaster a year ago. The side boosters landed nearly simultaneously at Landing Zones 1 and 2, and the center stage came back down shortly after that on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You". A third booster landed on a barge in the ocean, something SpaceX hadn't accomplished with the previous Falcon Heavy launch.

The rocket carried a Saudi Arabian satellite operated by Arabsat, a year after sending SpaceX founder Elon Musk's slick red Tesla roadster into orbit as a test.

The satellite aims to provide communications to people in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

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It consists of the equivalent of three Falcon 9 rockets combined, tripling its thrust.

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. Even though the primary goal was to put the Arabsat 6A satellite into orbit, SpaceX also had another goal, and that was the recovery of the three booster rockets.

In its response, Russia's rocket and space corporation energia had announced its plans to build a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle with help of existing components in 2016. "Three for three boosters today on Falcon Heavy, what an unbelievable accomplishment".

When did SpaceX launch the Falcon rocket?

"From our iconic launch pads at @NASAKennedy, we will continue to support the growing commercial space economy", NASA tweeted. This was a success following SpaceX's water landing in a similar maneuver past year.

Note that also yesterday, SpaceX postponed the launch of the carrier rocket Falcon Heavy. The center core landed on a SpaceX drone ship ten minutes and 20 seconds into the mission.

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