Video: watch SpaceX land all three Falcon Heavy rocket boosters
Aerospace firm finally launches its most powerful rocket yet after series of setbacks
SpaceX has successfully carried out the first commercial launch of its most powerful rocket to date, following several setbacks earlier this week due to poor weather conditions.
The Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 6.35pm (22.35pm UK time) yesterday, says space.com.
Minutes after blasting off, two of the rocket’s three boosters returned to Earth and landed vertically back at the space port, the website says.
The third booster, which has further to travel, touched down on the company’s autonomous floating landing pad called “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic two minutes later, says ITV.
It’s the first time SpaceX has successfully recovered all three stages of Falcon Heavy’s boosters. During the rocket’s test flight last year, the company was able to land the first two stages but failed to recover the final booster.
Yesterday’s mission marked Falcon Heavy’s second flight and its first commercial mission.
The rocket was used to carry Arabsat-6A, a Saudi Arabian communications satellite, into orbit some 22,236 miles above Earth, reports space news site nasaspaceflight.com.
Built by US aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, the six-tonne satellite will provide phone, internet and television coverage across “parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe”, the website adds.
SpaceX plans to reuse the three boosters recovered during yesterday’s mission to send Falcon Heavy back into space again later this year.
British communications firm Inmarsat will use the rocket to deploy one of its satellites into orbit, although an official launch date has yet to be announced.