Sunday, 16 June 2019
Latest news
Main » SpaceX carries out first commercial launch with Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX carries out first commercial launch with Falcon Heavy rocket

14 April 2019

On Thursday, US space company SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy with a Saudi Arabsat-6A satellite on board and successfully landed the rocket's side boosters and central core back on Earth.

Using SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy commercial flight means that the satellite will be placed into a high geostationary transfer orbit and should be on station in 16-17 days.

About eight minutes after liftoff, the reusable rocket's two side boosters landed back on ground near the launch center, showed SpaceX's live broadcast. The center-core stage continued on and made a ideal landing on the drone ship, "Of Course I Still Love You" in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. That's why the second-ever launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket - and the first to carry a payload for a paying customer - was a key milestone for SpaceX. The booster is carrying into orbit a 13,000-pound Saudi telecommunications satellite that will provide television, internet and mobile phone services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The company launched the rocket on a test mission past year. The red Roadster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars. SpaceX already has another Falcon Heavy launch planned for June, a US Air Force mission called STP-2 that consists of dozens of small satellites.

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.

"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. To recall, this was the same rocket that launched a Tesla into space in 2018.

About 34 minutes after liftoff, the shiny silver satellite was successfully deployed. The boosters for that flight may be recycled from this one. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of those single rockets strapped together. The first retrieval didn't go so well for the poor old core booster, which missed the landing and plunged into the ocean after delivering the Roadster to orbit in February previous year.

SpaceX carries out first commercial launch with Falcon Heavy rocket