SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket poised for first commercial launch


A year after launching a Tesla roadster into deep space, a second SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was hauled to the pad and erected Wednesday, setting the stage for an early evening launch to boost a heavyweight Saudi communications satellite into orbit. After that, SpaceX hopes to land the center stage on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean. But Wednesday has a clear forecast with an 80% probability of a launch, so odds are good the mission will proceed.

For SpaceX, the addition of the large and reusable Falcon Heavy to its launch business gives the company the ability to bid on heavier payloads than it can with the smaller Falcon 9 rocket, opening up the market for big commercial satellites launches and national security missions. It's a particularly notable one, being Falcon Heavy's second flight ever and the very first commercial launch for the gargantuan launch vehicle.

This time around SpaceX has a paying customer to please. SpaceX aims to pull a more seamless landing when it launches the Arabsat-6A, a 13,200-pound satellite for Arabsat, a Saudi Arabia-based satellite communications company, today. Scores of fans and tourists have flocked to the Florida Space Coast for the event, which will be broadcast live on SpaceX's website.

As with the first launch of the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX will try to safely land the two side rocket boosters back at Cape Canaveral Landing Zones 1 and 2 in Florida. We'll see if they have better luck this time around.

United Kingdom passports issued without 'European Union' label despite Brexit delay
March 30 was the original date set by the enacting of Article 50 for the exit of Britain from the European Union. The Home Office said the removal of the words "European Union" was part of a two-stage redesign process.

The launch window had been pegged to open at 6:35 p.m. EDT for 2 hours, but SpaceX said Wednesday afternoon it was targeting liftoff at 8 p.m. and might go a half hour later due to strong upper-level winds.

The first Block 5 version of Falcon Heavy prepares for its launch debut.

After the procedure concluded in the hangar, the rocket was rolled onto the pad for a static test fire ahead of the launch of the Arabsat 6A satellite on April 9. But the middle booster missed a seaborne platform it was created to land on, and instead splashed into the ocean.

When the rocket flew past year, its two side boosters made synchronized landings on side-by-side ground pads in Florida.

Canada’s job-creation run ends in March after six straight months
Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment figures outpaced the Dow Jones' estimate of 175,000 jobs added during the month. The six consecutive months of rising employment, that began in September, added around 300,000 jobs.

That was back when SpaceX was still expected to test Falcon Heavy later that same year.

According to SpaceFlight Now, Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa.

In a departure from past designs, the satellite features thin, flexible solar arrays instead of the rigid panels used on other spacecraft.

Minister quits as prospect of ‘softer’ Brexit looms
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said Wednesday that May was entering her talks with Corbyn "without preconditions". Could Britain leave the European Union without agreements, that would be the responsibility of the United Kingdom.