Space-related news seem to be an occupying species on planet Earth in recent days. First came the first-ever photograph of the black hole in the center of the galaxy. Then came SpaceX's successful commercial mission into space.
On Thursday, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket officially went commercial with the launch of Arabsat-6A, a communications satellite, into orbit. The satellite, operated by Saudi Arabian firm Arabsat, is designed to "deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe," according to a statement.
The rocket took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the first time the rocket, which CNN describes as the "most powerful vehicle flying today," goes on a mission for a paying customer. The rocket's three boosters successfully returned to Earth following the launch.
About 34 minutes after takeoff, the satellite was successfully deployed.
The Falcon Heavy's first launch took place in Feb. 2018, when SpaceX launched its CEO Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster into space.
At the time, the rocket's two outer boosters made it back to Earth in one piece. However, the center core "failed to stick its landing on a drone ship at sea," according to The Verge.
This time, two of the boosters landed on landing pads, located nearby the initial launchpad, while the center core landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.