SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully blasts off

Eloise Marshall
December 5, 2019

The satellite aims to provide communications to people in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

SpaceX sent the Arabsat-6A communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit April 11, completing the Falcon Heavy rocket's first commercial launch.

The Falcon Heavy is created to loft into low-Earth orbit up to 140,000 pounds - more than any American rocket has been able to carry since NASA's Saturn V, which took Apollo astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and '70s. As with the first launch of the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX will try to safely land the two side rocket boosters back at Cape Canaveral Landing Zones 1 and 2 in Florida.

A Falcon Heavy rocket lofts Arabsat's 6A satellite from Kennedy Space Centre. But everything went exceedingly well and the satellite ended up in the proper orbit.

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. The side boosters from yesterday's launch are slated to be reused for that mission.

On Wednesday Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO suggested that a delay was likely due to "upper atmospheric wind shear" and SpaceX confirmed there would be no launch.

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SpaceX set a company record previous year with 21 launches for customers.

No word on whether SpaceX caught or attempted to catch the fairings that covered the payload during launch - we may hear about this later, depending on whether it's a success or not.

On Thursday, before it took off, the Falcon Heavy rocket stood on a Florida launch pad and packed the energy equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon.

The Falcon Heavy made its maiden flight on February 6, 2018.

The successful launch and landing were cheered on by U.S. space agency NASA, which congratulated the California-based rocket manufacturer.

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