Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
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SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral successful

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral successful

The Falcon Heavy rocket exerts 5.1 million pounds of thrust - that of more than a dozen jetliners, SpaceX said.

SpaceX confirmed this evening that the Arabsat-6A satellite, which will be used for communications, was successfully transferred into geosynchronous orbit.

The launch was an important for SpaceX as this was only the second time the Falcon Heavy has launched and the first with a paying customer.

The megarocket, which stands 230 tall, is the most powerful rocket now in operation. The rocket can lift nearly 141,000lbs into orbit, which is more than double the Delta IV Heavy, the next closest operational vehicle.

Since then, the USA military and private clients have signed contracts for Falcon Heavy launches, and NASA has raised the possibility it may use the rocket for its planned missions to the Moon.

The rocket is expected to be used primarily for USA military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites.

Elon Musk's Tesla roadster launched from the Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018 with a dummy driver named Starman. SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheered every launch milestone and especially the three touchdowns.

The company's Falcon Heavy rocket can carry heavier payloads into orbit than the Falcon 9 while still maintaining a similar degree of re-usability by landing its boosters back on Earth. It was less than four years ago when it completed the first successful Falcon 9 landing on a Cape Canaveral launch pad. A third booster landed on a barge in the ocean, something SpaceX hadn't accomplished with the previous Falcon Heavy launch. A couple of hours after Thursday's launch, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared two photos of the fairing halves that encapsulated the Arabsat-6A satellite.

The satellite was built on a modernized version of Lockheed Martin's A2100 bus with advanced innovations, including propulsion, solar arrays and electronics.

"We needed more lifetime for the satellite, so we had the option: Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy, and we chose to go with Falcon Heavy", he said.

That was back when SpaceX was still expected to test Falcon Heavy later that same year. SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell flew to Saudi Arabiato reassure them that the Falcon Heavy would be reliable. Much of the focus this year is on the first flight with humans on board: SpaceX and Boeing Co. have contracts with NASA to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency's Commercial Crew program.

Both rocket fairings from the two Falcons were recovered in the ocean, which the SpaceX boss said will be reused at a later date for future SpaceX missions.

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