Falcon Heavy: SpaceX Faced Key Test In Launch Of Its Biggest Rocket

Enlarge Image The SpaceX Falcon Heavy sits on the launchpad in Florida.                  SpaceX

Balkheyour said Arabsat chose the Falcon Heavy in order to extend the lifespan of the Arabsat-6A satellite beyond the 15 years a geostationary communications satellite is typically created to last.

Liftoff was scheduled for Wednesday evening from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but SpaceX postponed the launch.

Falcon Heavy's debut flight a year ago attracted massive attention, in part because CEO Elon Musk made a decision to launch his own luxury Tesla Roadster as the test payload.

The center core booster landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean about two minutes after that.

Less than 10 minutes into the flight, the rocket's three boosters detached from the Falcon Heavy on schedule.

Falcon Heavy is created to launch large commercial payloads into high orbits, take on heavy-duty national security missions and potentially power interplanetary missions as well.

The huge Arabsat 6A satellite - weighing around 6450 kg (14,200 lb) is not quite the heaviest individual spacecraft SpaceX has launched, but it is by far the highest energy orbit SpaceX has reached with a spacecraft anywhere close to its size. But SpaceX chief Elon Musk said upper-level wind shear was extremely high.

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SpaceX and Boeing Co are vying to send humans to space from USA soil for the first time in almost a decade under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

The job was to place the six-ton Arabsat-6A satellite into geostationary orbit about 22,500 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth.

Though Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch ultimately went off without a hitch, SpaceX will now have to repeat that success with the added risk of carrying a multimillion dollar satellite.

In Falcon Heavy's first launch, in February 2018, a dummy dubbed Starman was placed behind the wheel of Musk's roadster, which is now orbiting the Sun somewhere between Earth and Mars.

The version of the Falcon Heavy that will fly this week will not be exactly the same as the previous mission: The Falcon Heavy's rocket cores will be more powerful, making use of upgrades to SpaceX's smaller workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9.

Until SpaceX came along, rocket boosters were usually discarded in the ocean after satellite launches.

It consists of the equivalent of three Falcon 9 rockets combined, tripling its thrust.

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