SpaceX Falcon Heavy sticks the landing in spectacular launch
12 Апреля, 2019, 07:55
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said back on April 5 that because this is the first launch of Falcon Heavy's Block 5, the latest and most powerful version of its boosters, they are being "extra cautious". Following the launch, SpaceX will attempt to simultaneously return the two side boosters to landing pads and land the center core on a drone ship.
"The Falcons have landed" Musk wrote on Twitter, inaugurating the first successful recovery of all three rocket boosters, which will be refurbished and re-fly in another Falcon Heavy mission this summer to carry a swarm of military and science satellites for the Air Force.
The webcast should begin about 20 minutes before the rocket's anticipated liftoff.
Musk's SpaceX, working to prove the flight-worthiness of its rocket fleet one mission at a time, aims to clinch one-third of all US National Security Space missions - coveted contracts that are worth billions of dollars.
Arabsat-6A was due for its deployment about a half-hour after launch.
A standard Falcon Heavy launch costs $90 million, according to the company's website, compared to $62 million for the Falcon 9.
"The Falcons have landed", Musk said in a tweet that included pictures of all three boosters.
Falcon Heavy has already been chosen for a few contracts, including a $130 million contract to launch an Air Force satellite that was awarded just four months after its inaugural flight in February 2018.
Until SpaceX came along, rocket boosters were usually discarded in the ocean after satellite launches.
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.
NASA's Saturn V rockets, used for the Apollo moon shots, are the all-time launch leaders so far in size and might. A huge cloud of exhaust went up from the three Falcon 9 rocket cores that were yoked together to provide more than 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust. The SpaceX team made sure to add more fluid this time.
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