SpaceX's Falcon Heavy conducts first commercial flight

Monday, 15 Apr, 2019

A huge cloud of exhaust went up from the three Falcon 9 rocket cores that were yoked together to provide more than 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust.

The rocket is to carry a Saudi Arabian satellite operated by Arabsat, a year after sending founder Elon Musk's red Tesla roadster into orbit as a test.

There will be another chance to catch the spectacular landing sequence happen again on April 26, when SpaceX and NASA launch the Falcon 9 rocket on a Dragonfly mission to resupply the International Space Station. Falcon Heavy's two side boosters landed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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. All three of the rocket's boosters safely landed on Earth; the side boosters for this launch hadn't previously been used. The vehicle's upgraded rocket cores also make it the world's most powerful rocket.

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.

During Falcon Heavy Flight 1, the rocket's center core - B1032 - was destroyed when a failure to reignite its landing Merlin 1D engines resulted in the booster slamming into the ocean at more than 300 miles per hour (~500 km/h).

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 11 (UPI) - SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off on schedule at 6:35 p.m. Thursday from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, the second launch for the biggest rocket in use today.

Less than 10 minutes into the flight, the rocket's three boosters detached from the Falcon Heavy on schedule.

"I don't think we saw really anything in the mission so far-we've got to do the data reviews-that would preclude us from having a crewed mission later this year", Stich said. This was a success following SpaceX's water landing in a similar maneuver previous year.

Falcon Heavy has already been chosen for a few contracts, including a $130 million contract to launch an Air Force satellite that was awarded just four months after its inaugural flight in February 2018.

The middle booster, after pushing the payload into space, returned almost 10 minutes later for a successful landing on SpaceX's seafaring drone ship 400 miles (645 km) off the Florida coast.

This is Falcon Heavy's second launch.