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SpaceX rocket lifts off with world's largest commercial satellite

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s three-fuselage Falcon Heavy ferried the massive payload into orbit at 11:04 p.m. local time from the company's launchpad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

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Falcon Heavy (Photo: @elonmusk Twitter handle)

Bloomberg

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By Loren Grush

SpaceX’s most powerful operational rocket successfully took off Friday evening, carrying the world’s largest commercial communications satellite en route to orbit high above Earth.
 
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s three-fuselage Falcon Heavy ferried the massive payload into orbit at 11:04 p.m. local time from the company’s launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The flight is ongoing and deployment of the satellite is slated for about three and a half hours after liftoff.

Weighing more than nine metric tons and roughly the size of a bus, the Jupiter 3 satellite will provide wireless internet connectivity over North and South America. It will be operated by Hughes Network Systems, a unit of satellite communications company EchoStar Corp. 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX opted not to recover the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket to ensure it had enough fuel to ferry the hulking cargo to its intended orbit. The vehicle’s two side boosters, however, did successfully touch down on SpaceX’s dual landing pads in Florida. The pair had also flown on two prior Falcon Heavy missions.

Friday’s takeoff is the third for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in 2023 and the company’s 51st mission to orbit this year. Just a day prior, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket from the company’s other launchpad in Florida, with a new batch of Starlink internet satellites aboard.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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First Published: Jul 29 2023 | 9:36 AM IST

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