SpaceX nails triple booster landing

Falcon Heavy launch delayed again, now targeted for Thursday evening

More than a year later, SpaceX has now launched the 70-meter-high Falcon Heavy, created to carry more than 64 metric tonnes of cargo, with the Arabsat-6A on board.

SpaceX just delayed the launch debut of Falcon Heavy Block 5 by about an hour and a half to dodge bad high-altitude wind conditions that would be a risk to the vehicle during launch and to both side boosters during their subsequent landing attempts. Last year's Falcon Heavy saw two of the three core stages land at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zones 1 and 2. The Falcon Heavy's main booster to make a hard landing at sea - on a ship positioned hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday's launch was SpaceX's second flight with the Falcon Heavy rocket, which had its first demo mission in February 2018.

Because this was an upgraded version of the rocket with unproven changes, SpaceX chief Elon Musk cautioned in advance things might go wrong.

Humanity's most powerful rocket, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, had a successful second flight today, the company has announced.

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NASA offered swift congratulations, tweeting: "From our iconic launch pads at @NASAKennedy, we will continue to support the growing commercial space economy".

Falcon Heavy's debut flight previous year attracted massive attention, in part because CEO Elon Musk made a decision to launch his own luxury Tesla Roadster as the test payload. SpaceX already has another Falcon Heavy launch planned for June, a US Air Force mission called STP-2 that consists of dozens of small satellites. It was carrying Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster with the crash dummy Starman at the wheel. As the first commercial payload for Falcon Heavy, the launch opens a new era for the private space industry and expands SpaceX's dominance in the industry.

The launch, at 22.35 GMT, means that Arabsat now has nine satellites in orbit (which includes two Hellas craft).

SpaceX will now get to work on refurbishing the three boosters in preparation for another flight in June or July. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of those single rockets strapped together.



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