Wednesday, 11 December, 2019

SpaceX Successfully Launches the Arabsat-6A Satellite and Lands Three Boosters

Trifecta! SpaceX launches first mission on Falcon Heavy and lands all three boosters		
		
	Devin Coldewey

			@techcrunch	 
		8 months Trifecta! SpaceX launches first mission on Falcon Heavy and lands all three boosters Devin Coldewey @techcrunch 8 months
Sandy Nunez | 05 December, 2019, 02:06

The satellite, operated by Saudi Arabian firm Arabsat, is created to "deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe", according to a statement.

At 34 minutes after takeoff, the Arabsat-6A satellite was deployed to orbit in what was the Falcon Heavy's first commercial mission.

The Falcon Heavy is created to loft into low-Earth orbit up to 140,000 pounds - more than any American rocket has been able to carry since NASA's Saturn V, which took Apollo astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and '70s.

Last night, around 11.51pm United Kingdom time, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, 47, confirmed the two side boosters landed at Cape Canaveral.

Enlarge / The Falcon Heavy fires its 27 engines on the way to space. There was a real payload to deliver into orbit, the Arabsat-6A.

Because this was an upgraded version of the rocket with unproven changes, SpaceX chief Elon Musk cautioned in advance things might go wrong. It was also the first time SpaceX managed to land all three rocket boosters after launch.

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Its successful landing of the center core from a Falcon Heavy is a relief for SpaceX after a similar attempt ended in disaster past year.

Nearby beaches and other prime viewing spots were packed with tourists and locals eager to catch not just the launch but the rare and dramatic return of twin boosters, accompanied by sonic booms.

This isn't SpaceX's final launch from the Florida-based space center: On April 26, a Falcon 9 rocket will carry a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), which is expected to bring more equipment and supplies to the astronauts aboard the habitable artificial satellite.

Both rocket fairings from the two Falcons were recovered in the ocean, which the SpaceX boss said will be reused at a later date for future SpaceX missions.

The Falcon Heavy made its maiden flight on February 6, 2018.

This rocket is by far the most powerful operational launch vehicle in the world.