SpaceX: Falcon Heavy rocket launch and landing

SpaceX’s payload fairing retrieval boat dubbed Mr. Steven. Credit SpaceX

SpaceX’s payload fairing retrieval boat dubbed Mr. Steven. Credit SpaceX

And with all the excitement surrounding the Starship Hopper and its first hop tests, there was one very important accomplishment that seems to have faded into the background a little.

SpaceX is hoping that, with Heavy's first commercial flight under its belt, it can increase the frequency with which the massive rocket blasts off.

Believe it or not, the trio of boosters aren't the only things that SpaceX managed to recover.

The spaceship delivered a communication satellite into orbit for Saudi company, Arabsat.

And even before that point, SpaceX was already celebrating the successful landing of Falcon Heavy's three individual boosters.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and successfully completed its first commercial mission by deploying the communications satellite Arabsat-6A into a geo-synchronous orbit.

The launch was also significant in that it was the first time that SpaceX has managed to bring back all of three of the rocket's first stages.

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As shown in the video below, the rocket's two side boosters landed successfully at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The payload fairings are clam shell-like nose cone halves that protect the craft's payload.

Musk also indicated that the hardware appeared to be undamaged and will be used again later this year to launch some of SpaceX's Starlink global broadband satellites. Musk says SpaceX plans on reusing the fairings during the launch of its own Starlink satellite mission later this year.

The ability to retrieve payload fairings is the latest step in SpaceX's creation of rocket systems that are entirely reusable.

Musk has sought to recover and reuse the fairings for additional launches because they're expensive to build.

Unfortunately, the fairing halves have proven hard to recover. Seawater isn't the best for rocket components, but the company is confident it can refurbish the fairings after they've been dunked in the ocean.

The latest launch marked the first time Falcon Heavy flies using the new Block 5 hardware, which is created to last longer than previous versions without the need for refurbishment. These boosters have been part of the Falcon 9 rocket for nearly a year and offer better thrust, improved landing legs and other features that make retrieval easier. The Falcon Heavy's center core landed on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, an improvement on the first launch in February 2018, in which the rocket's center core missed the droneship and crashed into the ocean.

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