SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Launches Communications Satellite, Hits Landing Trifecta

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launched its first commercial satellite on Thursday, with its three first stage boosters successfully landing for later reuse.

The world’s most powerful booster lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:35 p.m. EDT. The rocket successfully orbited the Arabsat 6A communications satellite.

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Falcon Heavy Launch Scrubbed, Rescheduled for Thursday

Falcon Heavy on the launch pad. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX scrubbed the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket with the Arabsat 6A communications satellite on Wednesday due to high upper level winds. The next window opens at 6:35 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 11. The launch will be conducted from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Second Falcon Heavy Launch Set for Wednesday

Lifting off at 3:45 p.m. from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy begins its demonstration flight. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

SpaceX has rescheduled the second launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for Wednesday, April 10. The nearly two-hour window opens at 6:36 p.m. EDT  (2236 GMT).

The booster will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, which will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications services for  the Middle East, North Africa a part of South Africa.

This will be the first Falcon Heavy rocket to use the more powerful Block 5 boosters. The two first-stage side boosters will land back at Cape Canaveral while the center core will land on an off-shore drone ship.

Saudi Astronaut Appointed to Head Kingdom’s New Space Agency

Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Credit: NASA)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has appointed his nation’s first – and thus far, only – astronaut to head up a newly created national space agency.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, who flew into orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1985, was appointed to the position. Salam, 62, is one of the king’s second son.

As a payload specialist aboard the flight, Salam helped to deploy the ARABSAT-1B satellite from the shuttle’s cargo bay for the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT). His flight marked the first time an Arab, a Muslim and a member of a royal family traveled to space.

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Falcon 9 Launch Failure Scrambles Schedule

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the failure of the Falcon 9 on Sunday, SpaceX’s only launch vehicle will be grounded for an unknown number of months while engineers identify the cause of the crash and make necessary changes to ensure that failure won’t happen again.

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