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Falcon Heavy soars; SpaceX lands critical NASA double asteroid redirect launch

12 Apr 2019, 18:10 UTC
Falcon Heavy soars; SpaceX lands critical NASA double asteroid redirect launch
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To say 11 April 2019 was a banner day for SpaceX would be an understatement. The private space company that has soared into the public’s imagination and trust not only succeeded in launching its Falcon Heavy rocket – the most powerful currently operational rocket in the world – on its first commercial flight, but also – just 70 minutes before that launch – secured yet another first: the launch contract for the first-ever spacecraft impact asteroid redirect mission.
Falcon Heavy succeeds:
Good things come to those who wait – and especially to rocket companies that respect mother nature and don’t launch into “no go” weather conditions.
While some were certainly disappointed in the need to stand down from Wednesday’s end-of-window launch target of the Falcon Heavy, reward was around the corner.
Launching into a nearly cloudless sky, the first operational flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket – and the vehicle’s all Block 5 debut – proved yet again the talent and ingenuity of SpaceX’s engineers.

Engine shot of #FalconHeavy sending Arabsat-6A to orbit. #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/ecZRy3WQaZ
— Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) April 12, 2019

By all accounts, the mission was flawless: a perfectly smooth countdown, fueling, and liftoff right at the opening ...

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