SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch

At the time, no one was quite sure how SpaceX would market the world's most powerful rocket, which did not seem to fit particularly well into any niche, especially after the company's own Falcon 9 rocket saw significant performance increases. Despite the satellite weighing no less than 6000 kg (13,200 lb), Falcon Heavy will still have enough latent performance to attempt the recovery of all three of its new Block 5 boosters. But Wednesday has a clear forecast with an 80% probability of a launch, so odds are good the mission will proceed. For the first flight, the Falcon Heavy rocket carried SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster to Mars.

Falcon Heavy has already been chosen for a few contracts, including a $130 million contract to launch an Air Force satellite that was awarded just four months after its inaugural flight in February 2018.

This time around SpaceX has a paying customer to please. It also carries the Falcon Heavy's first commercial payload - the ArabSat 6A communications satellite for the Saudi Arabia company of the same name.

SpaceX's goal is to reuse as many of their rockets as possible to drive down launch costs. The company's reusable rockets will make their way back down to Earth for soft landings that will allow them to be used again.

The two outboard boosters were expected to attempt dramatic side-by-side landings back at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station while the central core stage headed for touchdown on an off-shore drone ship. This appears to be the primary factor in the decision to move the opening of the launch window (which extends for an hour and 57 minutes) to Wednesday, April 10 at 6:35 p.m. EST (22:35 GMT). The satellite will be deployed about 34 minutes after launch, but it's those first 34 minutes that will be of most interest to space enthusiasts. But the middle booster missed a seaborne platform it was created to land on, and instead splashed into the ocean.

More news: President Trump Headed to Calexico for Border Wall Visit

This time around, Falcon Heavy will be made entirely out of Block 5 hardware, including three new boosters (likely B1052, B1053, and B1055), a Block 5 upper stage with a Merlin Vacuum engine, and a recovery-optimized "Version 2" payload fairing.

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy on the launchpad.

According to SpaceFlight Now, Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa.

Though Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch ultimately went off without a hitch, SpaceX will now have to repeat that success with the added risk of carrying a multimillion dollar satellite.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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