Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Science | By Cecil Little

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch Successful, Lands All Three Boosters

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch Successful, Lands All Three Boosters

This Falcon Heavy was also a next-generation version using the Falcon 9 Block 5 boosters for the first time. Built by Lockheed Martin for Saudi Arabian corporation Arabsat, the satellite is described by Lockheed vice president Lisa Callahan as one of "the most advanced commercial communications satellites we've ever built".

With the successful launch Thursday, another Falcon Heavy launch is expected to carry dozens of military and scientific research satellites into space in June for the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program-2, according to space industry publication Spaceflight Now.

The Falcon 9 Heavy lifting off from the historic Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre. Last year's Falcon Heavy saw two of the three core stages land at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zones 1 and 2.

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.

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"The Falcons have landed", Musk said in a tweet that included pictures of all three boosters.

In a 2018 test mission, the rocket's core booster missed the vessel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the same Falcon Heavy that launched a cherry-red Tesla into orbit, giving its driver, Starman, one of the coolest road trips in history.

The new and improved Falcon Heavy blasted off Thursday evening with a communication satellite called Arabsat - the rocket's first paying customer.

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Though Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch ultimately went off without a hitch, SpaceX will now have to repeat that success with the added risk of carrying a multimillion dollar satellite.

Less than 10 minutes into the flight, the rocket's three boosters detached from the Falcon Heavy on schedule. It's nearly certainly still in orbit around the sun with a mannequin at the wheel.

"I don't think we saw really anything in the mission so far-we've got to do the data reviews-that would preclude us from having a crewed mission later this year", Stich said.

Beyond that though, the Block 5 upgrades add almost 10 percent more thrust to Falcon Heavy compared with the demo mission previous year.

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Until SpaceX came along, boosters were discarded in the ocean after satellite launches.

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