SpaceX successfully launches Arabsat 6A

Falcon Heavy launch

Watch SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch the Arabsat-6A satellite

Arabsat needs SpaceX to send its Arabsat-6A communications satellite into Earth orbit, and SpaceX wants to make good on its promise that the Falcon Heavy can fulfill a commercial need. New launch vehicles are being tested by SpaceX's numerous competitors, but Falcon Heavy has the advantage of already existing and working as designed.

Eight minutes after liftoff, SpaceX landed two of the first-stage boosters back at Cape Canaveral, side by side, just like it did for the rocket's debut previous year. Built by Lockheed Martin, Arabsat 6A is the largest and most powerful commercial satellite Lockheed martin has ever produced.

Then, at around nine minutes after takeoff, the core booster landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

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.

"The Falcons have landed", SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.

The Falcon Heavy launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 6:35 p.m. EDT, carrying the Arabsat-6A communications satellite in its payload.

The satellite SpaceX launched on Wednesday will update satellite coverage for Arabsat, which is based in Riyadh and delivers hundreds of television channels and radio stations to homes across the Middle East, Europe and North Africa.

Both rocket fairings from the two Falcons were recovered in the ocean, which the SpaceX boss said will be reused at a later date for future SpaceX missions.

SpaceX will be hoping for a successful retrieval of all boosters as Falcon Heavy sets its sights on a second launch later this year.

The Falcon Heavy made its maiden flight on February 6, 2018.

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