The first Falcon Heavy launch of 2019 will place Arabsat-6A spacecraft for Saudi Arabia into geostationary orbit. Arabsat-6A weighs 6,000 kilograms (13,000 pounds). This communication satellite will serve the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
SpaceX has also applied for FCC permission for another Falcon Heavy launch as well. SpaceX has previously wanted to launch Falcon Heavy in March and April and to reuse all three first stage boosters.
The second Falcon Heavy launch of 2019 would launch over two dozen military satellites as part of the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Space Test Program 2 (STP-2).
Two successful launches would show rapid re-use of 90% of the value of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy has the most payload capacity of any rocket that is currently flying.
Re-using first stages lowers the capacity of what can be taken into space because fuel needs to be saved for the landings. SpaceX Falcon Heavy can still deliver more payload to low earth orbit than all current rockets other than the ULA Delta IV Heavy.
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch costs are about $90 to 150 million. The ULA Delta IV Heavy have costs of about $350 million to 600 million.
If SpaceX is able to reliably reuse the first block 5 stages of the Falcon Heavy ten times each then the costs to SpaceX will drop to about $20 million per launch.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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