SpaceX completes first commercial launch to deploy Saudi satellite

Falcon Heavy launch delayed again, now targeted for Thursday evening

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is set to blast off tonight

Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched its massive Falcon Heavy rocket Thursday for Saudi Arabia's Arabsat, the rocket's first mission for a paying customer.

SpaceX tried to launch the Falcon Heavy rocket on Wednesday, however, high winds forced the company to push the liftoff window to Thursday, April 11.

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. The center core landed on a SpaceX drone ship ten minutes and 20 seconds into the mission.

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The so-called Arabsat 6A satellite was placed into an equatorial orbit some 22,000 miles (36,000km) above the Earth.

When the Falcon boosters return, the two side boosters descend together, side-by-side - coming back to their own landing zones as if you had been watching the flight on rewind.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is by far the most powerful operational rocket in the world. It's nearly certainly still in orbit around the sun with a mannequin at the wheel.

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Les autorités algériennes n'avaient fourni aucune explication. "Réagissant à cette décision, le PDG e l'AFP , Fabrice Fries a dénoncé mardi une décision " inacceptable ".


One of the hallmarks of most Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches are the landings carried out by the rocket's first stage (s).

A couple dozen ground telescopes kept tabs on the auto during its first several days in space, but it gradually faded from view as it headed out toward the orbit of Mars, Giorgini noted. It will take decades if not centuries for solar radiation to cause it to decompose, he said. These were recovered from the ocean, he said, and would be reused later this year during a launch of the company's Starlink satellites.

Falcon Heavy Flight 2's evening launch window now sits at 8:00-8:32 pm ET (00:00-00:32 UTC), leaving little margin for any bugs prior to liftoff but still plenty of time for at least one serious attempt.

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Until SpaceX came along, rocket boosters were usually discarded in the ocean after satellite launches. SpaceX landed all three booster cores for a recovery rate of 100 percent.

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