The first ever paid rocket launch has been successfully undertaken as SpaceX’s Heavy Falcon rocket took off April 11, 2019. The paid mission marks a milestone for Elon Musk’s spaceflight company SpaceX.
However, the plan did not go as smoothly as expected. The company reports that the center booster successfully homed and landed on drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You”, but later goes overboard due to rough sea conditions on its way back to shore. The booster sinks to sea but Musk’s is positive that the engine could be recoverable.
Falcon Heavy’s First Payload Mission a Success
Musk envisions the Falcon Heavy to eventually deliver payloads to the Earth’s orbit and to ultimately bring mankind into space. One of that goals is ticked off Thursday as the rocket successfully launched to space its first paid mission, deploying Arabsat-6A satellite into orbit.
The Arabsat-6a is a communication satellite meant to update the wireless coverage for Arabsat, a Riyadh based company. It will provide internet services to different countries in the Middle East, some parts of North Africa, and even Europe.
Back in 2018, a few months after its successful inaugural launch in February, Falcon Heavy has been booked to put into space a $130M Air Force satellite that will mainly be used for US military undertakings. The rocket has also been chosen for other contracts such as launching of commercial telecommunications satellites, as well as spy satellites.
Lose of Core Booster not a Hindrance for Future Missions
Despite the loss of the center core, the other two side boosters touched down into land successfully. Due to this, the schedule of the Falcon Heavy’s next launch mission will not be significantly affected and is anticipated to push through in a couple of months.
SpaceX intends to resuse the side boosters for Heavy Falcon’s third launch that is set to carry US Air Force’s Space Test Program 2 or the USAF STP-2. The racket will be equipped with a new center core booster for this mission, which will be launched sometime in June 2019.