SpaceX has launched the most powerful rocket in the world …again. This is SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. It’s launching for the second time in history. But this time, its cargo is something far more valuable.
SpaceX first launched its Falcon Heavy in 2018. When it carried Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space. But this maiden launch, while successful, was a test. So if anything went wrong and the cargo was lost, SpaceX customers wouldn’t take a hit.
Today’s launch has much more on the line. And not just for SpaceX. Because this is the Falcon Heavy’s first ever commercial launch. It’s carrying a communications satellite for the Saudi Arabian company, Arabsat. Once in place, the satellite will reportedly provide television, internet, and phone to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
Capable of lifting around 140,000 pounds to space, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world. And the second most powerful in history. Bested only by the Saturn V.
The rockets that launched Apollo astronauts to the moon more than 45 years ago. But unlike the Saturn V, SpaceX has a more modern approach to rocket launches. Because its Falcon Heavy is made up of 3 individual, reusable rockets.
To compare, Saturn V rocket engine s fell and sank to the bottom of the ocean after launch. Not reusable, to say the least. And each Saturn V cost up to $189 million to launch in 1969 — $1.23 billion in today’s dollars. It costs between $90 to $150 million to launch a single Falcon Heavy rocket, according to CNBC. And already, reports indicate that SpaceX has collected a number of contracts for its Falcon Heavy.
Its launch manifest is currently worth an estimated $500 to $750 million dollars. So this won’t be the last we see of the Falcon Heavy.