Falcon Heavy sends first commercial satellite into orbit

The Falcon Heavy central core booster lands on a drone ship stationed hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean

The Falcon Heavy central core booster lands on a drone ship stationed hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean

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".

A 2018 test already had proven the side boosters could land themselves. But that same test also resulted in the core rocket falling into the Atlantic, giving SpaceX a two-of-three success rate that put additional pressure on Thursday's launch to go smoothly.

And smooth it was: All three of the Falcon's rockets guided themselves home once they'd served their objective.

Liftoff with Heavy's new military-certified Falcon 9 engines was crucial in the race with Boeing-Lockheed venture United Launch Alliance and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin as Musk's SpaceX, working to flight-prove its rocket fleet one mission at a time, aims to clinch a third of all U.S. National Security Space missions - coveted military contracts worth billions.

The rocket is expected to be used primarily for USA military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites. Musk replied with three red hearts.

Fans arrive for rapper Nipsey Hussle's Los Angeles memorial
Obama's letter states that Hussle "saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going". Obama wrote a letter to the family that was read by Karen Civil , Hussle's friend and business partner.

Privately owned SpaceX, also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp, was founded in 2002 by Musk, who is also a co-founder of electric auto maker Tesla Inc. It's nearly certainly still in orbit around the sun with a mannequin at the wheel.

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. Above all else, Falcon Heavy Flight 2 has demonstrated that SpaceX's super heavy lift rocket is truly ready to offer routine commercial services for customers - both public and private - around the world. The boosters for that flight may be recycled from this one.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine last month suggested possibly using a Falcon Heavy - and another company's big rocket - to get the space agency's Orion capsule around the moon, minus a crew, in 2020.

"Three for three boosters today", a SpaceX webcast commentator said.

It consists of the equivalent of three Falcon 9 rockets combined, tripling its thrust. The company is intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts.

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