It’s been more than a year since SpaceX first demonstrated the flight capabilities of its heavy-lifting Falcon Heavy rocket platform, and while the rocket's maiden flight successfully flew Tesla Roadster electric supercar into space without a hitch, it was nothing more than a publicity stunt planned by company CEO Elon Musk to make the launch more interesting.
On Thursday, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket conducted its first commercial launch ever, delivering the Arabsat-6A satellite into space. The rocket’s three boosters ignited their engines at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida mere hours ago, and just as expected, the launch went exceedingly well.
Soon after the Falcon Heavy performed its primary mission, SpaceX attempted to land all three of the rocket’s boosters at various landing locations. The rocket’s two side boosters touched down safely at SpaceX’s LZ-1 and LZ-2 Landing Zones, while the main rocket booster touched down safely on the drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You,” which was floating around in the Atlantic Ocean, just off Florida’s coast.
It’s worth noting that SpaceX’ initial attempt to land all three rockets just over a year ago didn’t quite go according to plan, and so Thursday’s launch and booster recovery was nothing short of the picture-perfect launch mission. Those boosters will go on to be refurbished, potentially for future space missions.
The future certainly looks bright for the Falcon Heavy rocket. Perhaps NASA could tap into some of that extra lifting power for some of its upcoming endeavors?