Falcon Heavy ready for its second attempt at a second flight

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

The 23-story-tall Heavy, which previously launched Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload.

To facilitate this, the two side boosters will attempt to land back at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, while the center core will attempt to land on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The core booster is shooting for an ocean platform.

SpaceX has launched its second supersized rocket from Florida, a year after sending up a sports auto on the initial test flight.

The Arabsat-6A satellite deployed from the rocket's second-stage about 34 minutes after liftoff. As such, this marks the first commercial mission for SpaceX's powerful rocket.

The job was to place the six-ton Arabsat-6A satellite into geostationary orbit about 22,500 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth.

Falcon Heavy has already been chosen for a few contracts, including a $130 million contract to launch an Air Force satellite that was awarded just four months after its inaugural flight in February 2018.

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The satellite aims to provide communications to people in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The Roadster is thought to be on the other side of the sun from us right now, about three-quarters of the way around its first solar orbit, said senior analyst at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Jon Giorgini.

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

However, with Musk's company intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts, the boosters for this flight may be re-used for future missions.

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.

The Falcon Heavy rocket exerts 5.1 million pounds of thrust - that of more than a dozen jetliners, SpaceX said. The SpaceX team made sure to add more fluid this time. Falcon Heavy only has five missions on its manifest so far.

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