SpaceX launches mega rocket year after debut with sports auto

The Falcon Heavy central core booster lands on a drone ship stationed hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean

More than a year after SpaceX sent its Falcon Heavy rocket on a majestic test launch, the second Falcon Heavy put a satellite in orbit today for its first customer.

Although the Falcon Heavy has proven itself flight-worthy, this is still just the second launch of a rocket with a staggering 27 engines, so there is definitely some uncertainty.

The Arabsat 6A communications satellite was built by Lockheed Martin.

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. It said in a tweet that the next launch opportunity is Thursday.

SpaceX has delayed the launch of its newest mega rocket because of dangerously high wind. The rocket can lift nearly 141,000lbs into orbit, which is more than double the Delta IV Heavy, the next closest operational vehicle.

Until SpaceX came along, rocket boosters were usually discarded in the ocean after satellite launches. "Three for three boosters today on Falcon Heavy, what an unbelievable accomplishment".

The YouTube window below will go live shortly before the launch window opens, assuming SpaceX doesn't push it back at the last minute.

SpaceX has launched its second supersized rocket from Florida, a year after sending up a sports vehicle on the initial test flight. The vehicle, 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.

Part of Falcon Heavy's appeal is the fact that its hardware is reusable.

However, with Musk's company intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts, the boosters for this flight may be re-used for future missions.

SpaceX said it would try again Thursday evening.

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.

Arabsat-6A was due for its deployment about a half-hour after launch.

The U.S. Air Force tapped SpaceX in 2018 to launch for $130 million a classified military satellite and in February added three more missions in a $297 million contract.

The version of the Falcon Heavy that will fly this week will not be exactly the same as the previous mission: The Falcon Heavy's rocket cores will be more powerful, making use of upgrades to SpaceX's smaller workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9. Falcon Heavy only has five missions on its manifest so far.

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