SpaceX Does it Again with Second Retrieval of Falcon Heavy Rocket
SpaceX Does it Again with Second Retrieval of Falcon Heavy Rocket
SpaceX pulled off an incredible feat in its second Falcon Heavy launch
13 April, 2019, 15:38
The most powerful operational rocket on the planet took off at 6.35 p.m. on Thursday from the historic 39A launch pad at the Kennedy Space Centre, the same platform that the Moon missions of the Apollo programme were launched from, and then managed to recover for the first time the three Falcon 9 rocket parts that make up the device, reports Efe news. About three minutes after clearing the pad, Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronised landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, prompting loud cheers from SpaceX engineers in the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters.
Believe it or not, the trio of boosters aren't the only things that SpaceX managed to recover. This came just 14 months after the inaugural launch that saw the rocket successfully send a Tesla Roadster (with Spaceman) into orbit, followed by the retrieval of two of its boosters afterward - which pulled off a near-synchronous landing! 'Three for three boosters today for the Falcon Heavy'. Because it flies higher and reaches faster speeds than the side boosters, landing it is a trickier endeavor, one SpaceX missed on Falcon Heavy's last test flight in 2018.
The spaceship delivered a communication satellite into orbit for Saudi company, Arabsat. The Falcon Heavy's payload was the Arabsat-6A, a telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
Touchdown! The two side boosters successfully landed at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Unfortunately, all previous attempts had failed and the fairings landed in the ocean. Almost half an hour after taking off from Cape Canaveral aboard the Falcon Heavy, the satellite separated from the rocket and was placed in a geo-synchronous orbit where it will remain for years. Seawater isn't the best for rocket components, but the company is confident it can refurbish the fairings after they've been dunked in the ocean.
Besides being the Falcon Heavy's commercial debut, yesterday's launch was also the first time that the Falcon Heavy flew with the upgraded "Block 5" boosters.
SpaceX and Boeing Co are also vying to send humans to space from USA soil for the first time in almost a decade under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
SpaceX is now testing a system to recover the fairings of its Falcon 9 rockets.
The center core of SpaceX's second Falcon Heavy rocket sits atop the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You.
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