The Falcon Heavy is touted as the world's most powerful rocket "by a factor of two and will only be succeeded by NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) when completed". The Arabsat 6A communications satellite was built by Lockheed Martin.
Roughly three minutes after clearing the launch pad, Falcon Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronised landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just like it did for the rocket's debut past year. The side boosters landed nearly simultaneously at Landing Zones 1 and 2, and the center stage came back down shortly after that on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You".
The 23-story-tall Heavy, which previously launched Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk warned in advance things might go wrong, given the upgraded version of the rocket with unproven changes.
But everything went exceedingly well, with SpaceX employees at company headquarters in Southern California cheering at every launch milestone, especially the three touchdowns. Each of the three boosters, on Thursday, made a safe return to Earth.
In Falcon Heavy's first launch, in February 2018, a dummy dubbed Starman was placed behind the wheel of Musk's roadster, which is now orbiting the Sun somewhere between Earth and Mars.
Make sure you don't miss the rapturous applause from SpaceX's mission control.
NASA tweeted: "Congratulations to @SpaceX on today's successful launch and landing of the Falcon Heavy rocket!"
The Roadster could still look much the same as it did for the February 6, 2018, launch, just not as shiny with perhaps some chips and flakes from the extreme temperature swings, according to Giorgini.
SpaceX plans to launch its next Falcon Heavy later this year on a mission for the US Air Force.
Falcon Heavy Flight 2's evening launch window now sits at 8:00-8:32 pm ET (00:00-00:32 UTC), leaving little margin for any bugs prior to liftoff but still plenty of time for at least one serious attempt.
The rocket is getting all the attention, but SpaceX wasn't just launching it for fun.