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SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launches on first commercial flight

05 December 2019

The satellite, operated by Saudi Arabian firm Arabsat, is created to "deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe", according to a statement.

After a few delays, SpaceX launched its second Falcon Heavy rocket yesterday evening. The Falcon Heavy, being the most powerful rocket in use today, with 27 engines firing at liftoff is basically 3 rockets strapped together and hence 9 engines per booster.

Eight minutes after takeoff, the spaceflight company landed the Falcon Heavy's side boosters at the company's two landing zones at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Approximately 34 minutes into the mission, the Falcon Heavy successfully deployed Arabsat-6A, a communications satellite that will provide internet services to people living in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

Landing rockets has become routine for SpaceX. It's a particularly notable one, being Falcon Heavy's second flight ever and the very first commercial launch for the gargantuan launch vehicle.

The Falcon Heavy launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 6:35 p.m. EDT, carrying the Arabsat-6A communications satellite in its payload. SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheered every launch milestone and especially the three touchdowns. On Feb. 6, 2018, the rocket carried a red Tesla Roadster into space in a demonstration of the rocket's capability in order to get more orders.

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The successful launch and landing were cheered on by USA space agency NASA, which congratulated the California-based rocket manufacturer.

The Roadster could still look much the same as it did for the February 6, 2018, launch, just not as shiny with perhaps some chips and flakes from the extreme temperature swings, according to Giorgini.

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SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launches on first commercial flight