SpaceX delays mega rocket launch due to high wind shear

James Marshall
December 5, 2019

The world's most powerful operational rocket completed its first commercial launch on Thursday, bringing a Saudi Arabian telecommunications satellite into the orbit.

Eight minutes after takeoff, the spaceflight company landed the Falcon Heavy's side boosters at the company's two landing zones at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The core booster landed on an ocean's surface offshore by hundreds of miles, 2 minutes later. That's the only part of the first mission that missed.

"Three for three boosters today, What an accomplishment!", a space flight commentator exclaimed. "Three for three boosters today on Falcon Heavy, what an awesome accomplishment".

Enlarge / The Falcon Heavy fires its 27 engines on the way to space.

High wind speeds far above the ground were responsible for derailing yesterday's launch, and we won't know for sure whether things are calm enough for a launch until SpaceX makes the call. But everything went exceedingly well and the satellite ended up in the proper orbit.

The YouTube window below will go live shortly before the launch window opens, assuming SpaceX doesn't push it back at the last minute.

Privately owned SpaceX, also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp, was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, who is also a co-founder of electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc.

NASA offered swift congratulations. Musk replied with three red hearts. It's nearly certainly still in orbit around the sun with a mannequin at the wheel.

Falcon Heavy is not expected to fly almost as often as its smaller counterpart, which has completed more than 20 missions since last February. It will take decades if not centuries for solar radiation to cause it to decompose, he said.

Falcon Heavy rumbled aloft at 6:35 p.m. local time from NASA's Kennedy Space Station in Florida. The boosters for that flight may be recycled from this one.

The successful launch and landing were cheered on by United States space agency NASA, which congratulated the California-based rocket manufacturer.

SpaceX typically launches Falcon 9 rockets.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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