SpaceX launches mission for Saudi Arabia's Arabsat

SpaceX's mission is to deploy Arabsat-6A, a high-capacity telecommunications satellite for the Saudi company
Arabsat, Elon Musk, Space Exploration Technologies Corp, Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX, SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket, Satellite
Bloomberg
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Fri 12 Apr 2019 10:04 AM

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp has launched its massive Falcon Heavy rocket for Saudi Arabia’s Arabsat, the rocket’s first mission for a paying customer.

Falcon Heavy rumbled aloft at 6:35pm local time from NASA’s Kennedy Space Station in Florida. SpaceX then recovered all three of the boosters back on Earth, achieving a feat it wasn’t able to pull off in the rocket’s demonstration flight last year.

The two side boosters simultaneously returned to land and the center core touched down on a drone ship hundreds of nautical miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The Falcons have landed,” Musk tweeted.

SpaceX’s mission was to deploy Arabsat-6A, a high-capacity telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, internet and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, according to a press kit.

SpaceX set a company record last year with 21 launches for customers. Much of the focus this year is on the first flight with humans on board: SpaceX and Boeing Co have contracts with NASA to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew program.

SpaceX completed its Demo-1 flight for the program in March. The next key steps are an in-flight abort test, followed by the first flight with two astronauts.

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