SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch

Clark Diaz
April 11, 2019

The true test will happen tomorrow, if Falcon Heavy cannot only launch but also land its three boosters.

The Falcon Heavy megarocket, the most powerful booster now in use, is set to launch the Arabsat-6A communications satelliteinto orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida today at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT).

Armed with an array of 27 powerful Merlin engines, the Falcon heavy first flew into space on February 6, 2018. And with a sticker price of $90 million, it is also about a third of the price of its closest competitor, United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy.

SpaceX will provide a webcast of the launch, landing attempts, and satellite separation from the upper stage, beginning 20 minutes before the anticipated liftoff on Wednesday.

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The launch is scheduled to happen just two weeks before the highly anticipated launch of the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry experiments, supplies and other materials to the International Space Station for astronauts.

The Falcon Heavy made a rousing debut a little more than a year ago, launching from Florida and sending a cherry red Tesla Roadster beyond the orbit of Mars.

This historic first launch of the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V of the 1960s will lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

While the launch was initially planned for 9 April, weather on the day wasn't conducive for the launch, which has now been moved to 10 April at 10.35 pm GMT (11 April 4.05 am IST).

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SpaceX has previously landed 12 first-stage boosters on land and 23 at sea. The two strapped to the main booster are created to break apart and land back on Earth. The video window below will go live shortly before the expected launch time, and SpaceX staff will be providing commentary and details about the mission and the status of the rocket as things unfold. SpaceX is expected to attempt to land all three this week. The triple-core rocket will hoist the 13,000-pound Arabsat-6A satellite toward a geostationary orbit 22,000 miles high.

"Arabsat-6A is a high-capacity telecommunications satellite that will deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe", a SpaceX statement read. Wednesday's launch marks the first time a Block 5 booster will be used for the big rocket.

Following Wednesday's launch, SpaceX will attempt to simultaneously return the two side boosters to landing pads and land the center core on a drone ship. The company hopes to get there on the back of the Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy's most immediate and tangible impact has been with national security missions. Falcon Heavy only has five missions on its manifest so far.

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