Falcon Heavy launches Arabsat-6A

Falcon Heavy’s first commercial launch occurred at Kennedy Space Center, 11 April 2019 at 2235 UTC. SpaceX delivered Arabsat-6A to geostationary transfer orbit shortly thereafter at about 2309 UTC. The 3520 kg communications satellite, built for the Arabsat organization around the Lockheed LM2100 bus, will serve the Middle East and Africa from 30.5° E. The new spacecraft will replace the older Arabsat-5A.

SpaceX recovered all three of the first-stage boosters, including the core booster, which was not recovered during Falcon Heavy’s only other launch – the dramatic “Starman” mission – a test launch which, in the absence of a third party customer, instead launched a Tesla Roadster helmed by a spacesuited mannequin deep into interplanetary space.

Now that Falcon Heavy is operational, its future appears bright, as the heavy-lift rocket has been cited as an off-the-shelf fallback option for the United States’ ambitious schedule for crewed lunar missions, as the oft-delayed Space Launch System (SLS) program struggles through its test phase.

Author: Fargo Orbit

The Fargo Orbit delivers science and aerospace news from a vantage point in the centre of North America.

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