SpaceX to launch Falcon Heavy Wednesday from Cape Canaveral

Jo Lloyd
April 11, 2019

After 8 p.m. watch the countdown and launch live at the top of this story. The Air Force also announced that it had selected the Falcon Heavy to launch its classified Air Force Space Command-52 satellite later in 2020.

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).

The Falcon Heavy is powered by two side boosters and a central core stage. 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.

The center booster, meanwhile, will shoot for a landing on the company's droneship out in the Atlantic - one of the few things that did not work out successfully during the first Falcon Heavy flight.

According to Elon Musk, this is the first flight for Falcon Heavy Block 5.

NASA and SpaceX posted to Twitter, speculation that these conditions could push the launch to the very end of the launch window, at 8:32 p.m. ET.

- The Space Coast is getting ready for another liftoff!

Tomorrow's launch follows a plan similar to Falcon Heavy's first test flight past year. It has three rocket boosters, which are strapped together during launch and are created to then break apart and make pinpoint landings back on Earth.

"Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy's two side boosters will attempt to land at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida", SpaceX wrote in a mission description.

The reinforced center booster will again attempt an ocean landing on the drone ship, where there is more margin for error.

At the time of its launch, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said he wasn't sure how the start would go or whether it would be successful.

The Arabsat 6A that will depart Earth this week, on the other hand, will stick around in orbit, providing Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage for the Middle East, North and South Africa. As it turns out, the demand was there for a low-priced, heavy lift booster.

"Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars".

After the procedure concluded in the hangar, the rocket was rolled onto the pad for a static test fire ahead of the launch of the Arabsat 6A satellite on April 9.

That was back when SpaceX was still expected to test Falcon Heavy later that same year.

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