One year later launch of a Tesla roadster in deep space, a second SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket It was moved to the platform and erected on Wednesday, setting the stage for an early-night launch to power a Saudi heavy-satellite communications satellite in orbit. While the main objective of the 34-minute mission was to put the Arabsat 6A communications station in orbit, SpaceX engineers hoped to recover the three main stages of the Falcon 9 rocket for its refurbishment and reuse.
It was expected that the two external reinforcements would attempt parallel landings back at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, while the central central stage was headed to land on an unmanned aircraft on the high seas.
How to watch the launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy
- What: Launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket
- Useful load: Satellite communications Arabsat 6A
- Location: Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
- Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
- Hour: 6:35 p.m. EDT – the earliest scheduled launch window
The Falcon Heavy, with 27 engines in three main stages of Falcon 9, was mounted on the historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday morning. The take off on the company's fourth flight this year was the target of 6:35 p.m. EDT, the opening of a window of 58 minutes of one hour. Forecasters predicted an 80 percent probability of acceptable climate.Live broadcast: See the release on CBSN and the video player at the top of this page.
Generating more than five million pounds of thrust at takeoff, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world. For its first flight in February 2018, the rocket carried a fictional payload, the Sports car Tesla Roadster with a spacesuited dummy – Starman – tied to the driver's seat.
But for his second flight, it was strictly commercial. The rocket was purchased to launch the Arabsat 6A communications station for the Arab States consortium of Arabsat, based in Saudi Arabia. The Arabsat 6A satellite was built by Lockheed Martin to provide television, radio, mobile telephony and broadband services throughout the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Unlike the previous designs, the satellite presents thin and flexible solar panels instead of the rigid panels used in other spacecraft. The new multi-mission arrays are 30 percent lighter than more traditional panels, but can generate up to 50 percent more power, or 20 kilowatts for Arabsat 6A.
If all goes well, the satellite will launch into an elliptical orbit 24 minutes after takeoff. The impellers on board will be used from that point to place the spacecraft in the required circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator, where the communication stations rotate in a circle with the rotation of the Earth.