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m3n4.net April 21, 2019


SpaceX Readies First Falcon Heavy Launch for Paying Customer

11 April 2019, 12:24 | Brenda Erickson

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch is currently scheduled for Sunday April 7 with a window of 6:36 p.m. through 8:35 p.m

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch is currently scheduled for Sunday April 7 with a window of 6:36 p.m. through 8:35 p.m

The payload is the Arabsat 6A communications satellite built by United States contractor Lockheed Martin for the Saudi company Arabsat.

The rocket is expected to be used primarily for USA military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites.

Falcon Heavy's 27 Merlin engines can be clearly seen in this photo taken inside the launch pad hangar.

A launch on a Falcon Heavy carries a price tag of $90 million, compared to competitor United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy, which costs more than $300 million.

At the end of the month, on April 25, SpaceX is also expected to launch their regular Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule for their 17 supply mission to the International Space Station. That's the US Air Force's STP-2 payload, consisting of more than two dozen satellites. The auto, which was carrying a space-suited mannequin nicknamed Starman, was vaulted into outer space and is expected to orbit the sun for the foreseeable future.

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The rocket, carrying a Saudi Arabian communications satellite, is set to lift off at 6:35 p.m. tonight from Kennedy Space Center with a almost two-hour window. Even more watched a stream online. SpaceX will attempt to re-land the rocket's three boosters. The first retrieval didn't go so well for the poor old core booster, which missed the landing and plunged into the ocean.

When the rocket flew a year ago, its two side boosters made synchronized landings on side-by-side ground pads in Florida.

Positioned in the geostationary orbit, Arabsat-6A is expected to last 15 years, provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communication services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, according to Space.com.

Lockheed Martin built the satellite, along with a second one, for Arabsat as part of a batch of contracts worth $650 million.

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy on the launchpad.

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SpaceX will launch a 13,000-pound satellite for Saudi Arabia's Arabsat.

SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, set a company record past year with 21 launches for customers.

In other words, the satellites will be deployed about 34 minutes after launch.

Falcon Heavy is not expected to fly almost as often as its smaller counterpart, which has completed more than 20 missions since last February.

For SpaceX, the addition of the large and reusable Falcon Heavy to its launch business gives the company the ability to bid on heavier payloads than it can with the smaller Falcon 9 rocket, opening up the market for big commercial satellites launches and national security missions. Falcon Heavy only has five missions on its manifest so far.

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