SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launches on first commercial flight

05 Décembre, 2019, 02:09 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launches on first commercial flight

Introducing a new ultra-powerful rocket has allowed SpaceX to compete directly with arch rival United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for lucrative government contracts that require heavy-lift launch vehicles.

SpaceX typically launches Falcon 9 rockets.

About 34 minutes after lift-off, the high-capacity telecommunications satellite will be deployed to the stars to hopefully deliver television, radio, internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

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 soared from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, using the same pad that shot Apollo astronauts to the moon a half-century ago and later space shuttle crews.

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Falcon Heavy has already been chosen for a few contracts, including a $130 million contract to launch a US Air Force satellite, which was awarded just four months after its inaugural flight in February 2018. This time, everything went off without a hitch.

Eight minutes after lift-off, two of the first stage boosters are landed back in Cape Canaveral, side by side.

SpaceX will be hoping for a successful retrieval of all boosters as Falcon Heavy sets its sights on a second launch later this year. With only one successful Falcon Heavy launch under its belt, SpaceX would rather not have to delay this second flight again, but safety is a top priority. These rockets are optimized for reusability, offering quicker turnarounds for refurbishment and re-flight.

On Wednesday Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO suggested that a delay was likely due to "upper atmospheric wind shear" and SpaceX confirmed there would be no launch.

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