SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Carries Out 1st Commercial Mission

Falcon Heavy launch delayed again, now targeted for Thursday evening

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is set to blast off tonight

Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched its massive Falcon Heavy rocket Thursday for Saudi Arabia's Arabsat, the rocket's first mission for a paying customer.

In its turn, Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energia announced plans to develop a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle using existing components back in 2016.

The Arabsat-6A satellite deployed from the rocket's second-stage about 34 minutes after liftoff.

When the rocket flew past year, its two side boosters made synchronized landings on side-by-side ground pads in Florida. In the 2018 test mission, Heavy's core booster missed the vessel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

This isn't SpaceX's final launch from the Florida-based space center: On April 26, a Falcon 9 rocket will carry a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), which is expected to bring more equipment and supplies to the astronauts aboard the habitable artificial satellite.

SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheered every launch milestone and especially the three touchdowns. Shortly after, the rocket's three boosters touched down back on Earth. As with the first Falcon Heavy mission in February 2018, the two side cores made a side-by-side landing along the Florida coast.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is by far the most powerful operational rocket in the world. But the preferred method remains Nasa's own Space Launch System mega rocket - if it can be ready by then.

Nasa's Saturn V rockets, used for the Apollo moon shots, are the all-time launch leaders so far in size and might. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of those single rockets strapped together. Featuring three brand new Block 5 boosters, this mission also has the potential to redeem a slight anomaly that caused Falcon Heavy Flight 1's center core to be destroyed during a recovery attempt. The company is intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts.

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