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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches Arabsat-6A as its first commercial payload

11 Apr 2019, 22:35 UTC
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches Arabsat-6A as its first commercial payload
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The Falcon Heavy central core booster lands on a drone ship stationed hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. (Via SpaceX live stream)
More than a year after SpaceX sent its Falcon Heavy rocket on a majestic test launch, the second Falcon Heavy put a satellite in orbit today for its first customer.
Back in February 2018, the test payload was SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster with a mannequin nicknamed Starman in the driver’s seat.
This time around, the payload was the 13,200-pound Arabsat-6A satellite, which is destined to go into geostationary orbit to provide telecommunications services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe through the Saudi-led Arabsat consortium.

Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/bwIfABbhIA
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 11, 2019

Woohoo SpaceX. Go go go! Spectacular! pic.twitter.com/6CupUOZClX
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) April 11, 2019
The Falcon Heavy’s liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center created a spectacle, just as it did during the maiden launch. 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.
Minutes after launch, the two side cores dropped away and descended to make separate touchdowns ...

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