Published: Thu, December 05, 2019
Science | By

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

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

It's a particularly notable one, being Falcon Heavy's second flight ever and the very first commercial launch for the gargantuan launch vehicle.

The Falcon Heavy, developed by the private U.S. space flight company SpaceX, blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in the U.S. State of Florida at 6:35 p.m.

For the first time ever, all three Falcon Heavy rocket boosters returned to Earth after launch: The two side boosters landed simultaneously on ground pads in Florida, while the center core landed on a remote-controlled platform in the ocean a short time later. 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.

SpaceX's reusable designs make the Falcon Heavy an appealing way to get large payloads into space.

"Arabsat-6A is a high-capacity telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe".

SpaceX plans to launch its next Falcon Heavy later this year on a mission for the U.S. Air Force.

About 34 minutes after takeoff, the satellite was successfully deployed. After separating from the core booster, the two side boosters will return to the launch site and land at Landing Zones 1 & 2 (LZ-1 & LZ-2).

The middle booster, after pushing the payload into space, returned almost 10 minutes later for a successful landing on SpaceX's seafaring drone ship 400 miles (645 km) off the Florida coast.

The Roadster could still look much the same as it did for the February 6, 2018, launch, just not as shiny with perhaps some chips and flakes from the extreme temperature swings, according to Giorgini.

What is all the more fantastic about this engineering effort, however, is that the world's largest rocket does not just launch into space.

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