SpaceX Reveals Time Frame for the Next Launch of Its Monstrous Falcon Heavy
Falcon Heavy will fly again in 2019. While all of the limelight has been squarely fixed on SpaceX’s still under-construction Starship rocket, Elon Musk’s aerospace company has also been readying its most powerful operational launch vessel for its first commercial mission.
SpaceX submitted a request to the United States Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday for the licenses needed for its Arabsat 6A mission. The filing states that SpaceX would like the mission to take place no earlier than March 7 and no later than September 7. This time, instead of blasting Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space, it will carry a Saudi Arabian communications satellite into geostationary orbit to provide television and internet services to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
The company’s launch manifest states the mission will launch from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39, and it could be even more epic than Falcon Heavy’s maiden voyage.
The herculean rocket is essentially made up of three rocket boosters strapped together that can generate up to 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. But the most exciting part of the launch might be when the parts descend back to earth, at which point SpaceX will attempt to recover all three cores that make up Falcon Heavy’s first stage. It’s almost like if SpaceX were conducting three different Falcon 9 landings on the same day.
The FCC filing details that the two side boosters will attempt to land at Cape Canaveral. If it’s anything like last time, they will touch down at the same exact time like some kind of synchronized rocket routine. The center core, on the other hand, will attempt to land on SpaceX’s Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) autonomous drone ship off of the cost of Florida.
Last time Falcon Heavy flew, its center core missed OCISLY by about 300 feet and crashed down in the Atlantic Ocean at about 300 miles per hour (482 km per hour). The Arabsat 6A mission could be its chance at redemption.
Parts of the rocket have been spotted passing through Arizona in recent months. These recent filings now give a (relatively) precise time frame for when SpaceX will next send its largest operational rocket to the stars.