SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful vehicle flying today, just launched its first-ever mission for a paying customer. It was also the first time SpaceX managed to land all three rocket boosters after launch.
The rocket took off Thursday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida just after 6 pm ET. It delivered a pricey communications satellite into orbit for Saudi Arabia-based firm Arabsat.
For the first time ever, all three Falcon Heavy rocket boosters returned to Earth after launch: The two side-boosters landed simultaneously on ground pads in Florida, while the center core landed on a remote-controlled platform in the ocean a short time later.
Reusable hardware is part of Falcon Heavy’s appeal. The boosters are guided back to Earth so they can be refurbished and used again. SpaceX says it can drastically reduce the cost of spaceflight.
During Falcon Heavy’s widely watched debut flight in February 2018, in which it launched CEO Elon Musk’s own Tesla Roadster into orbit, only the