SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said Thursday that the company’s recovery fleet in the Atlantic Ocean recovered the two halves of the Falcon Heavy’s payload shroud after the heavy-lifter’s second launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Musk said the company plans to reuse the fairing for the first time later this year.
On its second flight, SpaceX’s mammoth Falcon Heavy rocket hurled an Arabsat communications satellite the size of a school bus nearly one-quarter the way to the moon Thursday, days after NASA’s administrator identified the privately-developed rocket as a backup to the agency’s behind-schedule Space Launch System for sending astronauts back to the lunar surface.
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.