SpaceX will attempt to pull off the world’s first successful triple rocket landing during the company’s first commercial Falcon Heavy flight mission today (April 10), and you can watch it all live online.
The Falcon Heavy megarocket, the most powerful booster currently in use, is set to launch the Arabsat-6A communications satelliteinto orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida today at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT). After liftoff, the huge rocket’s two side boosters and central core stage are expected to return to Earth for the triple landing.
“Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters will attempt to land at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida,” SpaceX wrote in a mission description. “Falcon Heavy’s center core will attempt to land on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.”
You can watch the Falcon Heavy launch live here and on Space.com’s homepage, courtesy of SpaceX, beginning about 20 minutes before liftoff. You can also watch the launch directly from SpaceX’s webcast page.
Today’s launch will mark SpaceX’s second flight of a Falcon Heavy, which made a successful debut test flight in February 2018. On that flight, the Falcon Heavy launched a red Tesla Roadster owned by SpaceX founder Elon Musk and stuck two of its three first-stage booster landings. The center core missed its drone ship landing when two of three engines ran out of igniter fluid. (At the time, Musk said a “fix is pretty obvious” to address the issue.)
SpaceX is hoping for a better luck with the triple landing today when Falcon Heavy launches the hefty 13,200-lb. (6,000 kilograms) Arabsat-6A for the Saudi Arabian satellite communications company Arabsat.
“Arabsat-6A is a high-capacity telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, Internet and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe,” SpaceX representatives wrote in a mission description. “Built on Lockheed Martin’s enhanced LM 2100 platform, Arabsat-6A includes several innovations that provide advanced Ka spot beam communications services and Ku and Ka-band coverages in addition to other frequency bands.”
While this mission is the second flight of a Falcon Heavy, it is the first to use SpaceX’s upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket boosters, which give it a 10% boost in maximum thrust over its predecessor, Musk has said.
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