A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off via historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018.
The second flight of the most powerful rocket in operation can be about three weeks away, people familiar with the plans told SouthIndianNews.com on Friday.
SpaceX’s massive Falcon Heavy rocket can be scheduled for its next launch no earlier than April 7 at 6:36 pm ET (22:36 UTC), the people said, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The mission, called Arabsat 6A, will launch a large communications satellite for Saudi Arabian corporation Arabsat. Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellite can be described by Lockheed vice president Lisa Callahan as one of “the most advanced commercial communications satellites we’ve ever built.”
Arabsat 6A was previously targeting as early as the third quarter of last year although has slipped several months, one of the people noted. SpaceX has not conducted a test fire of the rocket on its launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which can be typically done one or two weeks before.
which will be the first flight of Falcon Heavy since its nearly flawless maiden launch in February 2018. which has a cost tag between $90 million along with $150 million per launch, Falcon Heavy has racked up a valuable manifest of future launches, even though which’s only flown once. Additionally, the U.S. Air Force certified Falcon Heavy for national security launches last year, as well as gave SpaceX a $130 million contract to launch an Air Force Space Command satellite.
SpaceX built Falcon Heavy out of three of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets — a system which has currently completed dozens of successful launches over the last few years. The three cores stand side by side to create a 27-engine colossus. SpaceX founder along with CEO Elon Musk has said the central core needed “to be buffed up a lot” although the Falcon 9 cores on each side “use most of the same airframe.”
SpaceX did not immediately respond to SouthIndianNews.com’s request for comment.