SpaceX successfully lands all three Falcon Heavy boosters
Dec 05 2019
During Falcon Heavy's widely watched debut flight in February 2018, only the two side boosters were recovered.
SpaceX sent the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit April 11, completing the Falcon Heavy rocket's first commercial launch.
"What an incredible day", a SpaceX flight commentator exclaimed. Falcon Heavy only has five missions on its manifest so far.
A Falcon Heavy rocket lofts Arabsat's 6A satellite from Kennedy Space Centre. The side boosters from yesterday's launch are slated to be reused for that mission. The roads were also jammed for Wednesday night's launch attempt, which was scuttled by high wind.
Landing rockets has become routine for SpaceX. When Arabsat announced the contracts in 2015, it said at the time that it planned to launch the Arabsat 6A satellite aboard Falcon Heavy. SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheered every launch milestone and especially the three touchdowns.
SpaceX's reusable designs make the Falcon Heavy an appealing way to get large payloads into space.
NASA offered swift congratulations.
The rocket is expected to be used primarily for U.S. military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites. Last year's test flight put a sports vehicle - Musk's own Tesla convertible - into space. The red Roadster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars. The boosters for that flight may be recycled from this one. But the preferred method remains NASA's own Space Launch System mega rocket - if it can be ready by then.
The rocket is getting all the attention, but SpaceX wasn't just launching it for fun. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of those single rockets strapped together.
As with all SpaceX launches, this will be a livestreamed event. The company is bent on recycling all rocket parts.