SpaceX Awes with Stunning Falcon Heavy Triple Stick Launch and Landings: Photos

Stunning blastoff of triple barreled SpaceX Falcon Heavy on
April 11, 2019 at 6:35 PM ET from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space
Center, FL carrying the Arabsat-6A telecommunications satellite to Earth orbit,
on 1st commercial launch of Falcon Heavy.  From my remote camera placed at pad 39a.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 11 April 2019


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL    SpaceX
awed the world with the stunningly beautiful and loud blastoff of only the
second ever Falcon Heavy launch entailing never before accomplished triple stick
launch and triple landings Thursday, April 11 from America’s premier Spaceport –
overall accomplishing a flawless feat of engineering and science. 



After a 24 hour delay forced by dangerous levels
of upper altitude winds and wind shear that could have destroyed the rocket as
it ascended to space, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy triple core rocket roared to life
at dinnertime Thursday right on time and soared off historic Launch Complex 39A
at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:35 p.m. ET on its first ever commercial
mission. 



And with this flawless performance, the path
is clearly open for NASA to consider using the Falcon Heavy to launch the first
critical elements of the Gatemay mini space station to the Moon such as the power
and propulsion and habitation modules for subsequent visits by astronauts in
the Orion Crew Capsule. 



Enjoy our Space UpClose gallery of imagery of
the Falcon Heavy launch and prelaunch activities during our media remote camera
setup.



Check back as the gallery grows.

Stunning blastoff of triple barreled SpaceX Falcon Heavy on
April 11, 2019 at 6:35 PM ET from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space
Center, FL carrying the Arabsat-6A telecommunications satellite to Earth orbit,
on 1st commercial launch of Falcon Heavy.  From my remote camera placed at pad 39a.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Powered by 27 first stage Merlin 1D engines the
23 story tall Falcon Heavy behemoth thundered off pad 39A into picture perfect
skies to the cheers of the SpaceX team and well as to the tens of thousands of
spectators who flocked to Florida Space Coast beaches, parks, roadways and restaurants
– crowding into any open spot available to get an eyewitness birdseye view of
this not to be missed space spectacle. 



The folks were not disappointed as the rocket
cleared the tower gushing a side by side trio of fire, flames and exhaust plumes
as the crackling engine thunder screamed out for miles around Rocket Central
USA. 


Stunning blastoff of triple barreled SpaceX Falcon Heavy on
April 11, 2019 at 6:35 PM ET from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space
Center, FL carrying the Arabsat-6A telecommunications satellite to Earth orbit,
on 1st commercial launch of Falcon Heavy.  From my remote camera placed at pad 39a.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The vehicle was visible for some 4 or more minutes
until at disappeared into the distance – growing ever fainter but never
obscured by clouds.
Myself and many others could see the twin
side boosters separate cleanly to begin their magnificent descent back to
Earth. 

Twin side booster separate from Falcon Heavy core stage two
minutes after blastoff on April 11, 2019 at 6:35 PM ET from Launch Complex-39A at
the Kennedy Space Center, FL on 1st commercial launch of Falcon
Heavy.  They both landed back at Cape
Canaveral. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
And in a truly amazing and remarkable feat that
was truly science fictionesque turning science the SpaceX team nailed all 3 Falcon
first stage booster touchdowns – two by land back at the Cape and one by sea on
an ocean going platform – think parking lot – timed to touchdown some eight and
nine minutes after launch respectively.


Spectacular double landing
of SpaceX
twin side cores as legs deploy just above ground moments before touchdown about 8 minutes after stunning Falcon Heavy launch on April 11, 2019 at 6:35 PM ET from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space Center.  Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
This second ever Falcon Heavy launch was payed
for by Arabsat to deliver the seven-ton Lockheed Martin built Arabsat-6A
telecom satellite payload to orbit for Saudi Arabia.

The satellite was deployed approximately 34
minutes after liftoff. 

SpaceX successfully recovered all 3 of the booster
cores by propulsive soft landings -the twin side boosters landed back at Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station side by side at Landing Zone-1 and Landing Zone-2.

“The Falcons have landed,” tweeted SpaceX CEO
billionaire and founder Elon Musk along with photos.

They created rocking sonic booms numbering perhaps
a dozen or more screeching across the region as they plummeted and passed through
the speed of sound barrier just hundreds of feet in the air above ground level.

I watched from on base at NASA from just a
few miles away as they reignited their engines for the landing burns and formed
an eerie pair of lights from the engine flames high above in the sky.



Then they fell back to Earth  – one just slight behind the other.


Finally the quartet of landing legs deployed
just a few hundred feet above the landing zone and just in the nick of time to
accomplish soft landings nearly simultaneously.
  
Falcon Heavy center core sticks upright landing
on OCISLY droneship on April 11, 2019. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX also recovered the center core at sea
on the “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) drone ship – for the first time –
stationed several hundred miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean. 
During the first Falcon Heavy launch the
center core engines failed to fire properly, and it was ditched into the ocean
to avoid smashing into OCISLY.

The side cores touched down approximately 8
minutes after liftoff and the center core nearly 10 minutes after liftoff. 
Beyond that SpaceX was also able to recover both
payload fairing halves.
“Both
fairing halves recovered. Will be flown on Starlink mission later this year,”
Musk tweeted.

“They each have avionics,
several nitrogen thrusters & steerable parachutes.



This launch also marked the debut of the first
all Block 5 version of Falcon Heavy compared to all Block 4 Falcon 9’s for the
maiden liftoff 14 months ago in Feb. 2018.



The two stage Falcon Heavy rocket stands 229.5
feet (70 meters) tall. The first stage is powered by a trio of Falcon 9 rockets
lashed together and a combined total of 27 Merlin 1-D engines fueled with
liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene and generate 1.7 million pounds of liftoff thrust
each at ignition. 



Propellant loading began approximately 50 minutes prior to liftoff
and went off without a hitch.



Vigorous venting of liquid oxygen was visible for about the last
20 minutes or so. 



The overall sea level thrust for Falcon Heavy is
5.1 million pound of thrust at sea level.



This rises to 5.5 million pounds of thrust in a
vacuum. 



This 2nd Falcon Heavy features roughly
10 percent more liftoff thrust at 5.1 million pounds vs 4.7 million pounds. 



The Arabsat-6A telecom satellite payload is
built for Saudi Arabia by prime contractor Lockheed Martin.



Arabsat-6A is a high-capacity
telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, Internet, and
mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.



It has a wet, fueled mass of 6450 Kg, 14000
pounds. 



The pair of solar arrays have a massive wing
span of 140 feet and generate 20 kw.


Watch my Falcon
Heavy
 prelaunch commentary
for 1st SpaceX launch attempt April 10 – in these two 
News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando TV News reports from
correspondent 
James Sparvero

and:

Dr Ken Kremer/Space UpClose
offer commentary and analysis about 2nd 
Falcon Heavy launch Thurs April 11, and how
this 
SpaceX rocket
will contribute to 
NASA’s
plans to return humans to the Moon
by 2024 in interview with TV News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando and correspondent 
James
Sparvero.  

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports
direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay
tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight
news:
www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research
scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and
interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.



………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Demo-1, Falcon 9 Nusantara Satu launch, USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16 launch
to ISS,  NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
FL, evenings: 




Apr 12: “SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1
and
Nusantara
Satu launch,
Dragon CRS-16 resupply
launch to ISS, SpaceX Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9
launches, upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 USAF GP3 3-01, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS,
Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter,
InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto, Kuiper
Belt and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings. Photos for sale







Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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