SpaceX is set to launch its Falcon Heavy later today, in what will be the first commercial flight for the world’s most powerful rocket. As part of the mission, the Elon Musk-led company will attempt to make history by landing all three boosters. You can watch it all live right here.
As noted in a SpaceX mission overview, today’s launch from the Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida is scheduled for 6:36 pm local time (11:36 pm UK time), but with a generous launch window that will bleed over into tomorrow. Should the launch be scrubbed, SpaceX will try again tomorrow at the same time. The rocket was supposed to go up yesterday, but the launch was cancelled due to high winds.
Should today’s launch go as planned, it’ll mark the second flight for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. The inaugural launch of the gigantic rocket happened on 6 February 2018, in which Musk’s red Tesla roadster was flung into the depths of space. As of late 2018, the vehicle and its lone occupant, Starman, are somewhere beyond the vicinity of Mars.
This will be the first commercial mission for the Falcon Heavy. It’s delivering the 6-tonne Arabsat-6A satellite to geostationary orbit some 36,000 kilometres (22,500 miles) above the Earth, the AFP reports. The Saudi telecommunications satellite will deliver “television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe,” according to SpaceX.
The Falcon Heavy is powered by two side boosters and a central core stage. All three boosters are expected to return to Earth in what will—fingers crossed—be the first triple landing of reusable rockets. The two side boosters will attempt their landings at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral in Florida, while the centre core will attempt to land on a droneship named Of Course I Still Love You, which is currently stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. [SpaceX, AFP, Space]
Featured image: AP