Last week, SpaceX realized a decade-long dream of successfully launching the most powerful rocket in the world. The Falcon Heavy’s achievement, marked resoundingly with thunderous sonic booms following twin booster touchdowns at Cape Canaveral, was only upstaged by Starman—a doomed mannequin at the wheel of Elon Musk’s Roadster
With the Heavy’s test flight complete, SpaceX is back to business as usual. Or maybe not. What seems like a routine launch this week may have greater implications for the company’s future and profits.
The launch’s primary mission is to deliver Paz, an observational satellite heavily financed by the Spanish Ministry of Defense, from the company’s pad in California. Paz won’t be riding alone on its recycled Falcon 9 though; SpaceX quietly loaded two experimental broadband satellites—built in-house—atop the rocket.