Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

SpaceX Releases a Dramatic Animation of the Upcoming 'Falcon Heavy' Launch

Emmett Howard | 07 February, 2018, 04:17

The highly anticipated first launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is finally here.

At 1:30pm ET today, SpaceX expects to carry out the first test flight of Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world.

An attempt to launch the largest rocket in the world is scheduled for Tuesday after months of delays. If the weather turns or if there are any technical glitches, SpaceX will have another chance to launch during the same hours on Wednesday. After almost a decade of development, the Falcon Heavy has finally reached the launch pad and undergone all of its preflight tests.

The Falcon Heavy launch would place the Roadster into a heliocentric orbit, meaning that like the planets and comets and so on, it will be orbiting the sun.

According to SpaceX's website, a Falcon Heavy rocket costs $US 90 million ($114 million) - remarkably cheap in the relative market of deep-space exploration. These engines "together generate more than five million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft", said SpaceX.

A still from the SpaceX livestream of the Falcon Heavy launch, showing the side boosters from the Falcon Heavy rocket returning to the landing pad. The FAA has issued a permit to the company which confirms that it can launch the Tesla Roadster to a hyperbolic orbit.

When is the Falcon Heavy launch?

The webcast below should begin about 20 minutes before the launch window opens.

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How can I watch the Falcon Heavy launch?

Elon Musk said on Twitter yesterday that "all systems remain green for launch at 1:30pm EST".

David Bowie's classic hit Space Oddity will be looping on the radio as the vehicle is hurled into an elliptical orbit that stretches out to Mars' orbit around the Sun.

"It'd be a real huge downer if it blows up", Musk said during the teleconference.

"I love the thought of a auto drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future", Musk wrote in a Tweet.

Falcon Heavy is no different.

Before SpaceX came along, it was commonplace to just discard rocket boosters - which are the most expensive part of the rocket - after each mission.

But, as Kluger notes, that won't be an easy task. This means that when launched, a total of 27 engines will be firing to achieve the launch.

Falcon Heavy is launching from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 39A.

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