Watch: SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy in first commercial mission - TechCentral

Watch: SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy in first commercial mission

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its massive Falcon Heavy rocket on Thursday for Saudi Arabia’s Arabsat, the rocket’s first mission for a paying customer.

Falcon Heavy rumbled aloft at 6.35pm local time from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. SpaceX then recovered all three of the boosters back on Earth, achieving a feat it wasn’t able to pull off in the rocket’s demonstration flight last year. The two side boosters simultaneously returned to land and the centre core touched down on a drone ship hundreds of nautical miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The Falcons have landed,” Musk tweeted. (Watch the launch mission video above.)

SpaceX’s mission was to deploy Arabsat-6A, a high-capacity telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, Internet and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, according to a press kit.

SpaceX set a company record last year with 21 launches for customers. Much of the focus this year is on the first flight with humans on board: SpaceX and Boeing have contracts with Nasa to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew programme.

SpaceX completed its Demo-1 flight for the programme in March. The next key steps are an in-flight abort test, followed by the first flight with two astronauts.  — Reported by Dana Hull, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

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