Falcon Heavy rocket launches communication satellite - Gallery

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center

The launch marks the Falcon Heavy's second-ever trip to space, as well as its first commercial mission, as the megarocket carried Lockheed Martin's Arabsat 6A communications satellite into orbit.

In an incredible accomplishment, the Falcon Heavy's reused side boosters landed smoothly back down to Earth on two separate launchpads about 8 minutes in.

Original story: This afternoon, SpaceX's most powerful rocket - which is also the most powerful rocket in the world at the moment - will take its second flight to space from Florida more than a year after its famous debut mission.

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. During the heavy-lift rocket's debut launch previous year, the first attempt to recover the center core failed. Because it flies higher and reaches faster speeds than the side boosters, landing it is a trickier endeavor, one SpaceX missed on Falcon Heavy's last test flight in 2018. The center core, however, failed to stick its landing on a drone ship at sea. Falcon Heavy's first flight was a history-making affair. The price tag on a Falcon Heavy launch is around $90 million.

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This rocket launch attracted scores of space tourists to the Space Coast throughout the week. The modernised LM 2100 includes several innovations that make the satellite more powerful, more flexible and more versatile in orbit.

Ultimately, NASA decided that it would stick with the SLS to perform the mission, but Bridenstine noted that the Falcon Heavy could become a part of NASA's long-term plans in the future. A lot of work would be needed, but it's a possible option in the long term, according to Bridenstine. This came just 14 months after the inaugural launch that saw the rocket successfully send a Tesla Roadster (with Spaceman) into orbit, followed by the retrieval of two of its boosters afterward - which pulled off a near-synchronous landing! The launch was also Falcon Heavy's first commercial endeavor.

The Falcon Heavy's two side boosters gracefully lower themselves onto the landing zones at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Takeoff is scheduled for 6:35PM ET from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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