Elon Musk's SpaceX sends world's most powerful rocket on first commercial flight

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches in Florida on April 11 2019

SpaceX Falcon Heavy sticks the landing in spectacular launch

The new and improved Falcon Heavy thundered into the early evening sky with a communication satellite called Arabsat, the rocket's first paying customer.

A 2018 test already had proven the side boosters could land themselves.

Completed less than 35 minutes after launch, this mission included a wealth of major events and firsts, including the first launch of Falcon Heavy Block 5, the first successful triple booster recovery, and one of the highest orbital apogees yet seen during a SpaceX mission - 90,000 km (55,500 mi) above Earth.

And smooth it was: All three of the Falcon's rockets guided themselves home once they'd served their goal.

Roughly three minutes after clearing the pad, Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronized landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, sparking boisterous cheers from SpaceX engineers in the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters.

Falcon Heavy is created to launch large commercial payloads into high orbits, take on heavy-duty national security missions and potentially power interplanetary missions as well.

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Musk used his own Tesla convertible in last year's demo and the red Roadster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars.

In Falcon Heavy's first launch, in February 2018, a dummy dubbed Starman was placed behind the wheel of Musk's roadster, which is now orbiting the Sun somewhere between Earth and Mars. As such, this marks the first commercial mission for SpaceX's powerful rocket.

The Roadster could still look much the same as it did for the February 6, 2018, launch, just not as shiny with perhaps some chips and flakes from the extreme temperature swings, according to Giorgini. As before, the launch could take place at any time over a window of about three hours, but if SpaceX does indeed manage to launch its massive rocket today you'll be able to watch it live right here. The boosters for that flight may be recycled from this one.

NASA's Saturn V rockets, used for the Apollo moon shots, are the all-time launch leaders so far in size and might.

"T plus 33 seconds into flight, under the power of 5.1 million pounds of thrust, Falcon Heavy is headed to space", SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said on a livestream. The company is intent on driving down launch costs by recycling rocket parts.

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