Watching Falcon Heavy Land is a Glimpse at the Future of Spaceflight

Mindy Sparks
April 14, 2019

The rocket landed successfully, completing a triple landing for SpaceX during the Arabsat 6A satellite launch on April 11, 2019.

The most powerful operational rocket in the world, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, launched its first commercial mission from Florida in a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's space company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts.

Roughly three minutes after clearing the pad, Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronized landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, sparking boisterous cheers from SpaceX engineers in the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters. Falcon Heavy's center core landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. That flight deployed a Tesla Roadster manned by a spacesuit-clad dummy called "Starman".

After many delays, SpaceX was finally able to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket this week, for just the second time ever.

More than a year later, SpaceX has now launched the 70-meter-high Falcon Heavy, created to carry more than 64 metric tonnes of cargo, with the Arabsat-6A on board. Two Starlink test satellites were launched a year ago and the company hopes to launch the next set in the coming months using a Falcon 9 rocket. On top of that, Musk tweeted at 6:31 p.m. PDT (09:31 p.m. EDT) that the two payload fairings (aka. the nose cone) had been successfully retrieved at sea. 'Will be flown on Starlink mission later this year'. Musk first announced plans to make this a routine part of launches back in early 2018 and specified that this would consist of the fairings using deployable chutes to slow down, and then being "caught" at sea by a ship with a giant net - named Mr. Steven.

'Both fairings recovered, ' Musk wrote in a tweet.

SpaceX has tried to recover payload fairings during previous launches but to no avail. Seawater isn't the best for rocket components, but the company is confident it can refurbish the fairings after they've been dunked in the ocean.

SpaceX's payload fairing retrieval boat, dubbed Mr. Steven. This same principle has informed the mission architecture behind the BFR system, which consists of the reusable Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy launch vehicle. On its first commercial mission, the Falcon Heavy is taking cargo into orbit. The second attempted landing was in April 2015, and the booster nearly made it, but ultimately tipped over and exploded. 'Three for three boosters today for the Falcon Heavy'.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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