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
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
Check back as the gallery grows.
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
until at disappeared into the distance – growing ever fainter but never
obscured by clouds.
side boosters separate cleanly to begin their magnificent descent back to
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.
for by Arabsat to deliver the seven-ton Lockheed Martin built Arabsat-6A
telecom satellite payload to orbit for Saudi Arabia.
minutes after liftoff.
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.
billionaire and founder Elon Musk along with photos.
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.
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.
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
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.
center core engines failed to fire properly, and it was ditched into the ocean
to avoid smashing into OCISLY.
minutes after liftoff and the center core nearly 10 minutes after liftoff.
payload fairing halves.
fairing halves recovered. Will be flown on Starlink mission later this year,”
several nitrogen thrusters & steerable parachutes.”
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
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
The pair of solar arrays have a massive wing
span of 140 feet and generate 20 kw.
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.
tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight
–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,
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