How to watch SpaceX Falcon Heavy's historic first commercial launch
- Author: Douglas Reid Apr 11, 2019,
Apr 11, 2019, 0:24
Tomorrow's launch follows a plan similar to Falcon Heavy's first test flight a year ago. The launch has already been delayed and had been originally anticipated for earlier this week.
It's launch day at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. Despite the satellite weighing no less than 6000 kg (13,200 lb), Falcon Heavy will still have enough latent performance to attempt the recovery of all three of its new Block 5 boosters. Forecasters expect an 80-percent chance of good weather.
Standing 250 feet tall, Falcon Heavy flies with three rocket boosters. Ranging from multiple sonic booms that will be audible for miles up and down the Florida coast and the potential for a spectacular Florida sunset as a backdrop, Falcon Heavy's second launch will be an event worth watching. The payload for the mission is the Arabsat-6A communications satellite which was built by Lockheed Martin off of the A2100 satellite bus.
Here's the mission timeline for today, as shared by SpaceX for after the launch.
Regardless, both Falcon Heavy side boosters will attempt to repeat the iconic side-by-side landings that is now a signature of the rocket's 2018 launch debut, while the center core - traveling much faster at the point of stage separation - will travel almost 1000 km (620 mi) downrange for a landing aboard drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY). We'll see if they have better luck this time around.
What: Launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the Arabsat 6A communications satellite Where: Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Date: Wednesday, April 10 Time: Launch window opens at 6:35 p.m. EDT.
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"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", SpaceX wrote in an Arabsat-6A Mission description.
Falcon Heavy's most immediate and tangible impact has been with national security missions.
Falcon Heavy's debut flight previous year attracted massive attention, in part because CEO Elon Musk made a decision to launch his own luxury Tesla Roadsteras the test payload. The first retrieval didn't go so well for the poor old core booster, which missed the landing and plunged into the ocean.
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy on the launchpad.
About seven minutes after launch, the Elon Musk-led company will attempt to land two of the vehicles' boosters on pads on the Cape.
In a departure from past designs, the satellite features thin, flexible solar arrays instead of the rigid panels used on other spacecraft.