Saturday, 20 July, 2019


SpaceX has again postponed the launch of the Falcon Heavy

The Falcon Heavy rocket at sunset along the Florida coast Enlarge The Falcon Heavy rocket at sunset along the Florida
Kristine Garrett | 14 April, 2019, 20:11

More than a year later, SpaceX has now launched the 70-meter-high Falcon Heavy, created to carry more than 64 metric tonnes of cargo, with the Arabsat-6A on board. Despite this setback, good weather enabled SpaceX to send the Falcon Heavy and the Arabsat-6A communications satellite to space yesterday, marking its first commercial launch.

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

Wednesday's launch was the second for Falcon Heavy following its successful maiden flight on February 6, 2018 when its payload was the personal red-colored Tesla Roadster of Elon Musk. As SpaceX explains on its website, this vehicle is the most powerful (operational) rocket now in existence.

During its previous Falcon Heavy launch, SpaceX successfully returned the two outer cores to its landing pads after separation, but the centre booster missed its drone ship target and crashed into the ocean. SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, cleared its first unmanned test flight in March ahead of its crewed mission planned for July, while the first unmanned test for Boeing's Starliner capsule is slated for August on ULA's Atlas 5 rocket.

However, with Musk's company intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts, the boosters for this flight may be re-used for future missions.

The new and improved Falcon Heavy blasted off Thursday evening with a communication satellite called Arabsat - the rocket's first paying customer. The red Roadster - with a mannequin at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars.

SpaceX plans to launch its next Falcon Heavy later this year on a mission for the U.S. Air Force. The SpaceX launch, which also happened to be the Heavy's second-ever flight, delivered a Saudi Arabian satellite into space. SpaceX landed all three booster cores for a recovery rate of 100 percent.

The satellite is created to provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communications to customers in the Middle East.

The launch systems are aimed at ending United States reliance on Russian Soyuz rockets for $80 million-per-seat rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles above the earth.

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