SpaceX Lands Falcon Heavy

SpaceX Lands Falcon Heavy

"On Thursday, April 11 at 6:35 p.m. EDT, Falcon Heavy launched the Arabsat-6A satellite from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida".

The spaceship delivered a communication satellite into orbit for Saudi company, Arabsat. The satellite was deployed approximately 34 minutes after liftoff. The two outer cores of the rocket touched down on SpaceX's two concrete landing pads at Cape Canaveral, Florida near the site of the launch.

Thursday's launch, which had to be postponed from the day before due to weather conditions, is the second since the initial trip in February 2018, when Falcon Heavy made a test flight with as dummy payload a Tesla electric roadster sent into deep space with a mannequin dressed in a space suit, which they called "Starman", in the driver's seat. Two Starlink test satellites were launched past year and the company hopes to launch the next set in the coming months using a Falcon 9 rocket.

The payload fairings are clam shell-like nose cone halves that protect the craft's payload.

Musk also indicated that the hardware appeared to be undamaged and will be used again later this year to launch some of SpaceX's Starlink global broadband satellites.

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SpaceX has tried to recover payload fairings during previous launches but to no avail.

Unfortunately, the fairing halves have proven hard to recover.

The company even constructed a boat with a massive net attached, affectionately called Mr. Steven, to try to recover the fairings. This same principle has informed the mission architecture behind the BFR system, which consists of the reusable Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy launch vehicle. With this deployment the Falcon Heavy, created with the goal of sending manned missions to the Moon and Mars, has successfully completed its first commercial mission. The second attempted landing was in April 2015, and the booster nearly made it, but ultimately tipped over and exploded.

The success of the Falcon Heavy is also paramount considering NASA's recent announcement that this rocket system could be used as a backup for future missions to the Moon, should the SLS not be ready in time. While the Falcon Heavy is no substitute for the SLS, this tight deadline could force some tough choices.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m).