SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Carries Out 1st Commercial Mission

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 14, 2019

Center core: It's the landing of this third booster that is the greatest achievement, after a similar attempt by SpaceX failed in 2018, instead hitting the ocean at 300 miles an hour.

The Falcon Heavy made its maiden flight on February 6, 2018.

"What an incredible day", a SpaceX flight commentator exclaimed.

The rocket is composed of three Modified Falcon 9 booster stages, sporting a total of 27 powerful Merlin engines.

During the heavy-lift rocket's debut launch a year ago, the first attempt to recover the center core failed.

In yet another win for Elon Musk's SpaceX, the company's Falcon Heavy rocket successfully completed its first commercial mission and actually stuck its landing.

As with all SpaceX launches, this will be a livestreamed event. Each of the three boosters, on Thursday, made a safe return to Earth.

NASA offered swift congratulations.

With the successful launch Thursday, another Falcon Heavy launch is expected to carry dozens of military and scientific research satellites into space in June for the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program-2, according to space industry publication Spaceflight Now. The red Roadster - with a mannequin at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars. To recall, this was the same rocket that launched a Tesla into space in 2018.

On Wednesday Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO suggested that a delay was likely due to "upper atmospheric wind shear" and SpaceX confirmed there would be no launch.

SpaceX will now get to work on refurbishing the three boosters in preparation for another flight in June or July. That launch was the biggest rocket since the Saturn era ended in the 1970s.

Bridenstine said everything is on the space table as NASA strives to meet the White House's goal of landing astronauts back on the moon by 2024.

Weather in the Atlantic is now about as good as could be expected, with minimal waves and low winds, excellent conditions for the safe recovery of Falcon Heavy's center core - likely B1055 - and Version 2 payload fairing halves. The SpaceX launch, which also happened to be the Heavy's second-ever flight, delivered a Saudi Arabian satellite into space. The company is intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts. The core booster is shooting for an ocean platform.

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