With the launch complex LC-39A OuterKennedy Center, owned by NASA, conducted the successful first commercial launch of the super-heavy Falcon Heavy launch vehicle of the US spaceX company SpaceX. The launch was supposed to take place the day before, but was postponed due to inappropriate weather conditions. The carrier should bring a new communications satellite, Arabsat 6A, owned by a satellite operator from Saudi Arabia, Arabsat, into geostationary orbit. The starting mass of the satellite is 6465 kg.
In the third minute since the start of the launch, the side boosters separated from the FH launch vehicle and began a smooth decline.
In the fourth minute there was a separation of the main stage of the rocket, which also began the planned descent and preparation for landing.
A few minutes later side acceleratorsmade a successful and almost synchronous landing on the special landing grounds of Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) of the company at the US Air Force Base at Cape Canaveral.
Landing the main stage of the Falcon rocketHeavy was produced on an autonomous floating barge "Of Course I Still Love You" ("Of course, I still love you") in the Atlantic Ocean. At the moment of maximum convergence of the main stage with the platform from overload, the camera installed on the floating craft turned off for a few seconds. Soon the picture returned. As it turned out, the landing on the barge also ended successfully. Thus, SpaceX for the first time in its history was able to carry out to land three spent accelerators at once.
Half an hour after launch, the second stagereached a predetermined orbital altitude, and after a few more minutes, the payload was successfully separated in the form of the Arabsat 6A telecommunications satellite.
The live launch was broadcast on the SpaceX YouTube channel. Her replay can be viewed below.
During the broadcast, the presenters told that in case of a successful landing of the booster side accelerators, they will be reused in the next commercial mission.
For a Falcon Heavy class rocketsecond launch. Recall that the first test launch of the super heavy carrier took place on February 6, 2018. Then the personal Tesla electric vehicle of the SpaceX head Ilona Mask and the Starman dummy sitting behind the wheel went into space as a test payload. They were sent somewhere to the orbit of Mars. During the first launch, we also managed to gently land the used side accelerators, but the main stage missed the floating barge.
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