SpaceX carries out first commercial flight

Christopher Davidson
April 14, 2019

One of the hallmarks of most Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches are the landings carried out by the rocket's first stage (s). Despite this setback, good weather enabled SpaceX to send the Falcon Heavy and the Arabsat-6A communications satellite to space yesterday, marking its first commercial launch.

On Thursday, before it took off, the Falcon Heavy rocket stood on a Florida launch pad and packed the energy equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon. Last year's Falcon Heavy saw two of the three core stages land at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zones 1 and 2.

The Arabsat 6A is a modern communications satellite developed by Lockheed Martin for Arabsat, an organisation founded by the Arab League in 1976 to provide telecommunications services to the region.

The US space's development marked the first-ever commercial satellite launch and Falcon Heavy's second ever flight, including a test launch that had taken place previous year in February.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket is ready for launch from Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on Thursday. For comparison, the most potent rocket which is now in production, Delta IV Heavy can carry 22,560 kilograms.

"The Falcons have landed", Musk tweeted.

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

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"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. The core booster landed two minutes later on an ocean platform hundreds of miles offshore.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is by far the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Falcon Heavy has successfully launched the Arabsat 6A Satellite, the last of its sixth generation satellites, from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the US. The red Roaster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars.

SpaceX set a company record past year with 21 launches for customers.

Then, at around nine minutes after takeoff, the core booster landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The satellite is created to provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communications to customers in the Middle East.

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