One year ago today, Falcon Heavy launched for the first time – successfully sending Starman into orbit. A year later, SpaceX is preparing for the first operational launch of Falcon Heavy. The mission – which will feature the Arabsat 6A spacecraft – is one of several marquee launches on SpaceX’s upcoming manifest.
On February 6th, 2018, Falcon Heavy finally lifted off after years of delays. When SpaceX CEO Elon Musk originally announced the launch vehicle in 2011, the first launch was scheduled to occur in 2013. However, unexpected technical challenges combined with the increase in Falcon 9’s payload capacity meant that Falcon Heavy was temporarily placed on the backburner.
Despite the delays, the launch vehicle did eventually make it to the launch pad – becoming the world’s most powerful operational launch vehicle when it finally lifted off.
The flight will always be remembered for its sensational visuals. After a spectacular liftoff, the two side boosters touched down nearly simultaneously on Landing Zones 1 and 2. Then, SpaceX live streamed hours of Starman’s journey through space atop Falcon Heavy’s second stage.
Starman flying through space after launch on Falcon Heavy. Credit: SpaceX
Instead of launching a mass simulator or an experimental ...