SpaceX’s second Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off Thursday with the Arabsat 6A communications satellite. The world’s most powerful operational launcher lifted off from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT), and its three first stage boosters landed less than 10 minutes later — two back at Cape Canaveral and one on a drone ship at sea.
SpaceX called off a launch attempt Wednesday for the company’s second Falcon Heavy rocket after high winds aloft posed a problem during the countdown. Another launch opportunity is available Thursday with a window opening at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT) from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After the Falcon Heavy takes off with the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, the launcher’s two side boosters will return to a landing at Cape Canaveral, while the center core will aim for touchdown on a drone ship at sea.
The launch of a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana with four more satellites Thursday to join SES’s O3b broadband network will help satisfy growing bandwidth demands in Latin America, Africa and the Pacific islands until the deployment of a new generation of upgraded spacecraft in 2021, SES officials said.
A Russian Progress resupply and refueling freighter launched Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on top of a Soyuz booster. The cargo craft completed the fastest rendezvous in the history of the International Space Station program with a successful docking less than three-and-a-half hours later.