SpaceX Landed Three Boosters Successfully, And The Visuals Are Beautiful!

Enlarge Image The SpaceX Falcon Heavy sits on the launchpad in Florida.                  SpaceX

SpaceX sent the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit April 11, completing the Falcon Heavy rocket's first commercial launch.

SpaceX also accomplished a new first on this mission, that of successfully recovering all three Falcon Heavy boosters. It's nearly certainly still in orbit around the sun with a mannequin at the wheel.

SpaceX tried to launch the Falcon Heavy rocket on Wednesday, however, high winds forced the company to push the liftoff window to Thursday, April 11. The two side boosters touched down eight minutes and one second after liftoff on Landing Zone 1 and 2 at the former Launch Complex 13 at Cape Canaveral.

The satellite was constructed for the Saudi Arabian company by USA contractor Lockheed Martin.

Though Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch ultimately went off without a hitch, SpaceX will now have to repeat that success with the added risk of carrying a multimillion dollar satellite.


"T plus 33 seconds into flight, under the power of 5.1 million pounds of thrust, Falcon Heavy is headed to space", SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said on a livestream. Shortly after, the rocket's three boosters touched down back on Earth.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine last month suggested possibly using a Falcon Heavy - and another company's big rocket - to get the space agency's Orion capsule around the moon, minus a crew, in 2020. A third booster landed on a barge in the ocean, something SpaceX hadn't accomplished with the previous Falcon Heavy launch.

SpaceX tweeted Thursday "all weather and systems are now go", so provided the pesky Floridian weather stays that way, it should be full steam ahead.

In Falcon Heavy's first launch, in February 2018, a dummy dubbed Starman was placed behind the wheel of Musk's roadster, which is now orbiting the Sun somewhere between Earth and Mars. By launching the used fairings on their own Starlink missions, SpaceX can effectively demonstrate the validity of this to future customers. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of those single rockets strapped together.

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