SpaceX launched its second supersized rocket and for the first time landed all three boosters Thursday, a year after sending up a sports auto on the initial test flight.
Roughly three minutes after clearing the launch pad, Falcon Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronised landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just like it did for the rocket's debut past year. This flight followed the first Falcon Heavy test launch in 2018 and involved the Arabsat-6A, a Saudi Arabian communications satellite. Above all else, Falcon Heavy Flight 2 has demonstrated that SpaceX's super heavy lift rocket is truly ready to offer routine commercial services for customers - both public and private - around the world.
"Three for three boosters today", a SpaceX webcast commentator said. The core booster landed two minutes later on an ocean platform hundreds of miles offshore.
The job is to place the six-tonne Arabsat-6A satellite into geostationary orbit about 36,000km above the Earth. Their return was heralded by a fusillade of sonic booms.
SpaceX has delayed the launch of its newest mega rocket because of dangerously high wind.
"The Falcons have landed", SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.
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This is when the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union after MPs repeatedly rejected the Prime Minister's deal. While she survived a vote of non-confidence among Tory MPs last December, a group of Tories is trying to stage another vote.
But everything went exceedingly well, with SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheering at every launch milestone, especially the three touchdowns.
Musk used his own Tesla convertible in last year's demo and the red Roadster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars. As such, this marks the first commercial mission for SpaceX's powerful rocket.
SpaceX typically launches Falcon 9 rockets.
Falcon Heavy is created to launch large commercial payloads into high orbits, take on heavy-duty national security missions and potentially power interplanetary missions as well. The auto, which was carrying a space-suited mannequin nicknamed Starman, was vaulted into outer space and is expected to orbit the sun for the foreseeable future.
The rocket is expected to be used primarily for U.S. military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites.