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Watching Falcon Heavy Land is a Glimpse at the Future of Spaceflight

Watching Falcon Heavy Land is a Glimpse at the Future of Spaceflight

SpaceX has made some unbelievable accomplishments in the past few years, all of which have been in keeping with Elon Musk's promise to cut the costs of space exploration.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket successfully completed its second launch and first operational mission on Thursday. Almost half an hour after taking off from Cape Canaveral aboard the Falcon Heavy, the satellite separated from the rocket and was placed in a geo-synchronous orbit where it will remain for years.

SpaceX has tried to recover payload fairings during previous launches but to no avail.

Unfortunately, the fairing halves have proven hard to recover.

It appears that Mr. Steven wasn't used during yesterday's launch; instead, recovery boats were able to scoop the fairings out of the water and return them to land.

This successful mission follows last year's first launch - a test that saw billionaire SpaceX boss Elon Musk send his own auto into orbit.

'We have landed the center core for the first time, ' a SpaceX announcer said. The company selected the Falcon Heavy for this launch back in 2015 since its extra lift capability meant that the satellite could be placed in a much higher transfer orbit, which will ensure a longer service life.

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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. Landing a rocket booster back on the ground so it can be refurbished is one thing, but recovering other parts of the spacecraft, such as the nosecone fairing, helps to boost SpaceX's bottom line even more.

After multiple delays throughout early April, Falcon Heavy blasted off at the opening of its launch window on April 11, just after 6:30 p.m. EDT.

The space company has previously re-used first-stage and second-stage rocket boosters, in addition to one of its previously flown Dragon capsules.

In an incredible accomplishment, the Falcon Heavy's reused side boosters landed smoothly back down to Earth on two separate launchpads about 8 minutes in.

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

SpaceX recovered a payload fairing for the first time in 2017.

While Mr. Steven was not in a position to catch the fairings from this launch, it was recently given a bigger net and is expected to be on hand in the future to make all parts of the Falcon Heavy recoverable and reusable.