SpaceX Successfully Launches the Arabsat-6A Satellite and Lands Three Boosters

Enlarge Image Falcon Heavy's center core landed on the SpaceX droneship.                  Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser  CNET

Enlarge Image Falcon Heavy's center core landed on the SpaceX droneship. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser CNET

Space X successfully landed its three rocket boosters for the first time yesterday, following the delivery of its first commercial payload.

With a total of 27 Merlin engines, the Falcon Heavy is capable of generating "more than 5 million pounds (2.3 million kg) of thrust at liftoff, equal to about eighteen 747 aircraft", according to SpaceX.

The launch of the Arabsat-6A satellite occurred at 6:35 p.m. It said in a tweet that the next launch opportunity is Thursday.

The Falcon Heavy is the world's tallest and most powerful rocket in use. It will be reused during a Starlinks mission later this year. The company selected Falcon Heavy in September for a mission anticipated in late 2017 or 2018. Thursday's launch marks the first time a Block 5 booster was used for the big rocket. The red Roaster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars. To recall, this was the same rocket that launched a Tesla into space in 2018.

Thousands of people came to SpaceX's launch site in Florida to watch the spectacle.

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Part of Falcon Heavy's appeal is the fact that its hardware is reusable.

Falcon Heavy is created to launch large commercial payloads into high orbits, take on heavy-duty national security missions and potentially power interplanetary missions as well. It was less than four years ago when it completed the first successful Falcon 9 landing on a Cape Canaveral launch pad. The core booster is shooting for an ocean platform. SpaceX is expected to attempt to land all three this week.

Falcon Heavy carried a communications satellite forSaudi-based telecom firm Arabsat, which will beam internet and television services over Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The satellite is the largest commercial one Lockheed martin has ever produced. Navigator and Searcher are expected to focus on gathering data and extricating Falcon Heavy's fairing halves - hopefully intact after parasailing gently onto the ocean surface - from the Atlantic. SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell flew to Saudi Arabiato reassure them that the Falcon Heavy would be reliable.

About 34 minutes after liftoff, the shiny silver satellite was successfully deployed. The Falcon-Heavy rocket was launched at 10.35 pm. Falcon Heavy only has five missions on its manifest so far.

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