Watching Falcon Heavy Land is a Glimpse at the Future of Spaceflight

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																	SpaceX pulled off an incredible feat in its second Falcon Heavy launch					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner

Science SpaceX pulled off an incredible feat in its second Falcon Heavy launch Mike Wehner

That prompted Elon Musk to tweet succinctly, "The Falcons have landed". SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said during a livestream: "T plus 33 seconds into flight, under the power of 5.1 million pounds of thrust, Falcon Heavy is headed to space".

After a successful launch that delivered the Arabsat-6A satellite into its planned orbit, SpaceX also succeeded in landing all three of the boosters for their Falcon Heavy rocket - a first for the private space company. Musk first announced plans to make this a routine part of launches back in early 2018 and specified that this would consist of the fairings using deployable chutes to slow down, and then being "caught" at sea by a ship with a giant net - named Mr. Steven.

The middle booster, after pushing the payload into space, returned almost 10 minutes later for a successful landing on SpaceX's seafaring drone ship 400 miles (645 km) off the Florida coast.

SpaceX's payload fairing retrieval boat, dubbed Mr. Steven.

You can relive the entire launch and landing via the stream below.

But the fairing recovery wasn't the only memorable achievement to come out of yesterday's launch.

This mission (Arabsat-6) was of particular significance since it was the first time the Falcon Heavy was being used to launch a commercial payload into orbit. The company also made history by successfully recovering both of its side boosters and the central core booster, which it had never done before.

SpaceX has made some incredible accomplishments in the past few years, all of which have been in keeping with Elon Musk's promise to cut the costs of space exploration. These boosters have been part of the Falcon 9 rocket for nearly a year and offer better thrust, improved landing legs and other features that make retrieval easier. Landing a rocket booster back on the ground so it can be refurbished is one thing, but recovering other parts of the spacecraft, such as the nosecone fairing, helps to boost SpaceX's bottom line even more.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m).

In an incredible accomplishment, the Falcon Heavy's reused side boosters landed smoothly back down to Earth on two separate launchpads about 8 minutes in.

The ability to retrieve payload fairings is the latest step in SpaceX's creation of rocket systems that are entirely reusable.

SpaceX recovered a payload fairing for the first time in 2017.

The side boosters are already marked for Falcon Heavy's next mission, now set for June.