SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches Arabsat-6A as its first commercial payload

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

The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket in use today.

The Thursday April 11 launch marked the first flight of the 230-foot-tall (about 70 meters) rocket with the payload from a paying customer. Last year's test flight put a sports car-Musk's own Tesla convertible-into space. The side boosters landed nearly simultaneously at Landing Zones 1 and 2, and the center stage came back down shortly after that on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You". It launched into the sky Thursday evening with Arabsat-6A, a Saudi Arabian satellite built by Lockheed Martin and operated by Saudi Arabia. Not only did the US launch provider successfully lift the Arabsat payload to orbit, it also successfully landed all three of its boosters back on Earth. It has three rocket boosters, which are strapped together during launch and are created to then break apart and make pinpoint landings back on Earth. The vehicle's upgraded rocket cores also make it the world's most powerful rocket.

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. Then came SpaceX's successful commercial mission into space. The center-core stage continued on and made a flawless landing on the drone ship, "Of Course I Still Love You" in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

About 34 minutes after the liftoff, the satellite was deployed into the orbit.

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Regardless, prior to December 2018, B1032 was the first failed SpaceX landing after dozens of successful attempts. SpaceX landed all three booster cores for a recovery rate of 100 percent.

The Falcon Heavy platform comprises three Falcon 9 stages. The company selected Falcon Heavy in September for a mission anticipated in late 2017 or 2018.

The satellite is created to provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communications to customers in the Middle East. Before the rocket finally launched more than two years later, Musk suggested to several news outlets, including CNN, that the rocket could explode.

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