Science

Falcon Heavy successfully launches Arabsat 6A

Falcon Heavy successfully launches Arabsat 6A”

Not only did the USA launch provider successfully lift the Arabsat payload to orbit, it also successfully landed all three of its boosters back on Earth.

During Falcon Heavy Flight 1, the rocket's center core - B1032 - was destroyed when a failure to reignite its landing Merlin 1D engines resulted in the booster slamming into the ocean at more than 300 miles per hour (~500 km/h).

Falcon Heavy vaulted a pricey communications satellite into orbit for Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat. Approximately 34 minutes into the mission, the Falcon Heavy successfully deployed Arabsat-6A, a communications satellite that will provide internet services to people living in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

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

As SpaceX explains on its website, this vehicle is the most powerful (operational) rocket now in existence.

An unmanned capsule from Elon Musk's SpaceX splashed into the Atlantic Ocean on March 8, successfully completing a mission crucial to NASA's long-delayed quest to resume human space flight from the United States soil later this year. Last year's test flight put a sports car-Musk's own Tesla convertible-into space. The red Roadster - with a mannequin at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars.

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. SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheered every launch milestone and especially the three touchdowns.

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

NASA tweeted: "Congratulations to @SpaceX on today's successful launch and landing of the Falcon Heavy rocket!" The boosters can then be refurbished and used again, which SpaceX says drastically reduces the cost of spaceflight. This was a success following SpaceX's water landing in a similar maneuver a year ago. But the middle booster missed a seaborne platform it was created to land on, and instead splashed into the ocean. Later on Thursday, Elon Musk said that both payload fairings were recovered. The satellite is meant to provide Internet and mobile phone services for customers in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The satellite is the largest commercial one Lockheed martin has ever produced.

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



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