BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Falcon Heavy's first paying customer hitched a ride into space Thursday evening into clear sky and SpaceX successfully landed all three first-stage boosters.
Falcon Heavy launched at 6:35 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center launchpad 39A generating more than 5 million pounds of thrust from 27 Merlin engines carrying a communications satellite for Saudi Arabian company ArabSat.
Less than 10 minutes after soaring into the clouds, the side boosters returned and landed back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on SpaceX Landing Zone 1 and 2.
The center core booster landed on a droneship Of Course I Still Love You out in the Atlantic Ocean. A feat just missed during the Falcon Heavy Demo-1 launch last February. This time all three boosters can be re-flown, saving millions for other missions.
"Oh my God! It looks like one big firework," said Cheryl Boudreaux, a visitor from Lousianna who watched the launch from Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral. "I love the rockets coming back. I think that was more awesome than the rockets going up."
SpaceX has now landed 14 first-stage boosters on land and 24 at sea.
In case you missed it re-watch the launch and landing below:
Meanwhile, the 13,000-pound satellite built by Lockheed Martin continued on and to be deployed into geostationary orbit approximately 34 minutes after launch.
The satellite will provide telephone, internet and cable to parts of the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The launch was delayed from Wednesday due to upper-level winds disappointing spectators, including international travelers.
For the second attempt, crowds were slightly thinner at popular viewing locations including Port Canaveral's Jetty Park but the park still filled to capacity ahead of the evening launch window.