SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket takes off for first commercial flight

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket takes off for first commercial flight

This is the first time the rocket, which CNN describes as the "most powerful vehicle flying today", goes on a mission for a paying customer.

Falcon Heavy's debut flight past year attracted massive attention, in part because CEO Elon Musk made a decision to launch his own luxury Tesla Roadster as the test payload.

After a few delays, SpaceX launched its second Falcon Heavy rocket yesterday evening.

The Falcon-Heavy rocket was launched at 22:35 (GMT) 11th April 2019, carrying Arabsat 6A satellite, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, to be placed in the exclusive orbit of Arabsat 30.5 degrees East.

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. "Three for three boosters today on Falcon Heavy, what an fantastic accomplishment". During the heavy-lift rocket's debut launch past year, the first attempt to recover the center core failed.

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SpaceX expects the Falcon Heavy launch will be held on Thursday, April 11.

The rocket is expected to be used primarily for U.S. military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites. The core booster landed two minutes later on an ocean platform hundreds of miles offshore.

It consists of the equivalent of three Falcon 9 rockets combined, tripling its thrust. This is all part of SpaceX's plan to refurbish rocket boosters so they can be used again, lowering the cost of spaceflights. The red Roadster - with a mannequin at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars. The company selected Falcon Heavy in September for a mission anticipated in late 2017 or 2018.

The satellite was safely deployed in orbit just more than half-hour after launch, giving SpaceX a flawless launch. This was a success following SpaceX's water landing in a similar maneuver a year ago. Now, it's landing three boosters in a single mission, one of which is in the middle of the ocean. That launch was the biggest rocket since the Saturn era ended in the 1970s.

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