SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Megarocket to Fly 1st Commercial Mission in April: Report

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launches on its first-ever flight, a Feb. 6, 2018, test mission.
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launches on its first-ever flight, a Feb. 6, 2018, test mission. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX plans to launch the first commercial mission of its Falcon Heavy megarocket early next month, according to media reports.

The company is targeting April 7 for the launch of the Arabsat 6A communications satellite from historic Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, CNBC reported Friday (March 15), citing anonymous sources. SpaceX has not officially announced a launch target for the Falcon Heavy mission. 

The 13,200-lb. (6,000 kilograms) Arabsat 6A was built by Lockheed Martin and will be operated by the Saudi Arabian company Arabsat.

Related: SpaceX's Epic Falcon Heavy Road Trip with Starman in Photos

The reusable Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket flying today, has one spaceflight under its belt — a test mission that lifted off on Feb. 6, 2018. The rocket launched SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster — driven by a spacesuit-clad dummy dubbed Starman — into orbit around the sun.

The Falcon Heavy is based on SpaceX's two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, which has executed dozens of launches and first-stage landings over the past few years. The Heavy lashes together three Falcon 9 first stages; the Heavy's second stage, and the payload to be launched, sit atop the central first stage "core."

Two of the Falcon Heavy's three first-stage boosters aced their landings during the rocket's February 2018 test flight. The central core came close, narrowly missing its target "drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.

Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.