NEW – On April 11, 2019, I was able to watch the story – at least part of it, while SpaceX launched its second Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. I did it from my driveway – or more accurately, a friend's drive down the street, which is damn cool.
Disclaimer – Most of the photos date from the launch of Falcon Heavy in February 2018 when I was in Titusville, Florida, much closer to Cape Town.
The launch went off without a hitch and we could clearly see the launch about 90 miles to the west. The best part was that we could also clearly see the return to fire on both side boosters as they stabilized before their free return to Cape Town. This happened about eight minutes after the launch.
Both boosters move relatively slowly when they separate, allowing them to return directly to Cape Town.
The reminder of the center travels too fast at the time of separation to return to Cape Town. This recall is supposed to land on a platform of drones in the Atlantic Ocean. This was what had been planned last year, but the recall missed the platform and was not only lost, but also flooded and sunk. This time, everything changed since the three boosters worked exactly as they were designed and perfectly managed central landings.
It's taken from SpaceX's Twitter feed right after landing, which shows the main center amplifier on the drone's platform.
The technology behind all this is staggering. Think of controlling three objects weighing thousands of pounds, falling freely from space, and guiding them, essentially without motor, and putting them all so softly that you can use them again. That's what SpaceX presented at the table tonight.
The mission continued with the successful launch of the Arabsat-6A satellite in a geosynchronous orbit. This means that SpaceX has completed its first commercial launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
It's an exciting time for the US space program. Who knows how this technology will lead to other new developments?
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