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SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy, world's most powerful rocket, for paying customer

15 April 2019
SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy, world's most powerful rocket, for paying customer

Back in February 2018, the test payload was SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster with a mannequin nicknamed Starman in the driver's seat.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy took off yesterday from the historic Launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Falcon Heavy's two side boosters landed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Falcon-Heavy rocket was launched at 22:35 (GMT) 11th April 2019, carrying Arabsat 6A satellite, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, to be placed in the exclusive orbit of Arabsat 30.5 degrees East.

SpaceX tweeted: "Successful deployment of Arabsat-6A to geosynchronous transfer orbit confirmed-completing Falcon Heavy's first commercial mission!" The rocket's three boosters successfully returned to Earth following the launch. For comparison, the most potent rocket which is now in production, Delta IV Heavy can carry 22,560 kilograms. Then came SpaceX's successful commercial mission into space. Then, as it launched, all of this energy poured forth from 27 engines in a meticulously controlled explosion for the goal of sending a 6-ton satellite into geostationary orbit.

The mission, called Arabsat 6A, is named for the large communications satellite that Falcon Heavy successfully launched.

The first Falcon Heavy's central core missed its landing at the end of last year's mission, due to the fact that it ran out of ignition fluid before the final engine burn. This was a success following SpaceX's water landing in a similar maneuver past year.

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.

The satellite SpaceX will launch on Wednesday will update satellite coverage for Arabsat, which is based in Riyadh and delivers hundreds of television channels and radio stations to homes across the Middle East and North Africa. In December, Falcon 9 B1051 suffered an unrelated failure with the hydraulic pump system that controls its titanium grid fins, causing the new Block 5 booster to land softly in the Atlantic Ocean, missing LZ-1 by a few miles.