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. On top of that, Musk tweeted at 6:31 p.m. PDT (09:31 p.m. EDT) that the two payload fairings (aka. the nose cone) had been successfully retrieved at sea.
This would be the first time SpaceX has ever reused nosecone fairings it recovered from the ocean, and the company hasn't said a lot about the process (es) it plans to use to give the fairings a second lease on life.
But the fairing recovery wasn't the only memorable achievement to come out of yesterday's launch.
Just minutes into the launch, the giant rocket's central core landed safely on SpaceX's offshore barge in the Atlantic Ocean, dubbed 'Of Course I Still Love You, ' while the two side boosters landed back on pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1 and 2.
The communications satellite Arabsat 6A separates from the second stage of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket during its April 11, 2019 launch, ending a successful liftoff and trip to orbit.
But what was especially impressive this time around is the fact that they managed to retrieve all three of the Falcon Heavy's rocket boosters, as well as the payload fairings. With this deployment the Falcon Heavy, created with the goal of sending manned missions to the Moon and Mars, has successfully completed its first commercial mission.
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The success of the Falcon Heavy is also paramount considering NASA's recent announcement that this rocket system could be used as a backup for future missions to the Moon, should the SLS not be ready in time. 'Three for three boosters today for the Falcon Heavy'. 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).
The rocket is part of a growing number of launch services at SpaceX, which includes the Crew Dragon that docked onto the International Space Station in March.
It took off, delivered a satellite into orbit and then, incredibly, landed all three of its booster rockets back to Earth.
SpaceX is now testing a system to recover the fairings of its Falcon 9 rockets.