falcon heavy

SPACEX Falcon Heavy Arabsat-6A – Behind the Scenes

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Falcon Heavy Arabsat-6A by Chuck Fields
Photo by Chuck Fields

Go behind the scenes with us as we set up cameras at the launch pad, met some incredible people and witnessed the first commercial launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy, complete with the incredible landing of the boosters at Cape Canaveral.

Featured in this episode are interviews with Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd, rocket launch photographer Erik Kuna, and STEM/teacher Jamie Groh. We discuss what it's like photographing this historic launch; the first commercial flight of the new Block 5 Falcon Heavy, with more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff (10% more than last year’s version) and a 140,000+ pounds of LEO payload capacity—more than double of the space shuttle.

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SpaceX Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A to launch Wednesday, April 10th

SpaceX Falcon Heavy
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Boosters (from Feb 6, 2018)

SpaceX is gearing up for its 2nd Falcon Heavy launch, scheduled for 6:35 pm EDT Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

As you may remember the first Falcon Heavy was launched last year on February 6, 2018 with the infamous “Starman” and Elon Musk's own Tesla. Two of the Falcon Heavy's boosters landed nearly simultaneously at Cape Canaveral while the main booster landing at sea (on SpaceX's ship “Of Course I Still Love You”) was unsuccessful.

So what's different this time? This is the first commercial launch of Falcon Heavy and not a demonstration mission. Its payload is the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for Saudi Arabian company Arabsat. This new satellite will be launched into a geostationary orbit (meaning it will be above the same location on Earth during its orbit) and provide television, phone, internet and secure communications for the middle east, Africa and Europe.

While still the most powerful active rocket available, this version of the Falcon Heavy will be 10% more powerful than last year's. Its 27 Merlin engines and Block 5 configuration create more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and are capable of lifting more than 140,000 pounds to low Earth orbit. Only the Saturn V moon rocket (last launched in 1973) could carry more payload to orbit.

As of right now (4/9/2019), weather conditions are 80% favorable for launch. You can watch the launch live on SpaceX's YouTube channel. We'll also be providing updates on our social media networks at FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter.