In pictures: SpaceX Falcon Heavy completed its first paying customer launch
The rocket carried a Saudi Arabian satellite operated by Arabsat, a year after sending SpaceX founder Elon Musk's slick red Tesla roadster into orbit as a test. The satellite is designed to provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communications to customers in the Middle East.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX carried out its first commercial launch on Thursday with its Falcon Heavy rocket easing a Saudi telecoms satellite into orbit. The Falcon Heavy rocket exerts 5.1 million pounds of thrust -- that of more than a dozen jetliners. SpaceX Falcon Heavy side booster rockets landed safely back on pads at Cape Canaveral. The job was to place the six-ton Arabsat-6A satellite into geostationary orbit about 22,500 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth. SpaceX Falcon Heavy side booster rockets landed safely back on pads at Cape Canaveral. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is seen after it left launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.