Falcon Heavy successfully launches Arabsat 6A

15 Avril, 2019, 01:09 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Enlarge Image Falcon Heavy's center core landed on the SpaceX droneship.                  Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser  CNET

In a Wednesday tweet, Elon Musk said that the Falcon Heavy uses the new Block 5 version of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which launched its initial voyage past year.

It thundered into the sky with a communication satellite called Arabsat, the rocket's first paying customer. For its first flight, the Falcon Heavy rocket ferried SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's cherry-red Tesla Roadster and a dummy named Starman to Mars.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy took off yesterday from the historic Launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. The two side boosters touched down eight minutes and one second after liftoff on Landing Zone 1 and 2 at the former Launch Complex 13 at Cape Canaveral. It's a particularly notable one, being Falcon Heavy's second flight ever and the very first commercial launch for the gargantuan launch vehicle. Another important distinction: All three of the Falcon Heavy boosters returned safely to Earth. During the heavy-lift rocket's debut launch past year, the first attempt to recover the center core failed. Later on Thursday, Elon Musk said that both payload fairings were recovered. During the 2018 test flight, the core booster missed the mark and fell into the Atlantic Ocean.

Spectators watch from Jetty Park as booster rocket engines approach landing pads, after a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., April 11, 2019.

The Falcon Heavy differs from the Falcon 9 rocket.

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In Falcon Heavy's first launch, in February 2018, a dummy dubbed Starman was placed behind the wheel of Musk's roadster, which is now orbiting the Sun somewhere between Earth and Mars.

SpaceX plans to launch its next Falcon Heavy later this year on a mission for the US Air Force.

When the rocket flew a year ago, its two side boosters made synchronized landings on side-by-side ground pads in Florida. 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.

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

Last night, around 11.51pm United Kingdom time, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, 47, confirmed the two side boosters landed at Cape Canaveral. This telecommunications satellite will service areas of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

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