Sci-tech

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Prepares for First Commercial Liftoff Wednesday

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Prepares for First Commercial Liftoff Wednesday

A live stream of the launch will be available half an hour before liftoff on SpaceX's YouTube page. The standard Falcon 9 still carries the bulk of SpaceX payloads (including the upcoming manned Dragon II), but the company hopes to move all launches to the Starship/Super Heavy platform in the coming years.

Barring unforeseen weather issues or other problems, SpaceX will launch its Falcon Heavy rocket with an onboard Arabsat-6A communications satellite at 6:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Launching and landing a rocket aside, the Falcon Heavy event represents several make-or-break matters for SpaceX.

Media outlets in Central Florida report sonic booms could potentially be heard in Brevard, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties.

With its 27 Merlin engines across the three first stage bodies, the Falcon Heavy can generate up to 2,267 metric tonnes (five million pounds) worth of thrust.

Last year's Falcon Heavy demo launch sent Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster into space.

Introducing a new ultra-powerful rocket has allowed SpaceX to compete directly with arch rival United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for lucrative government contracts that require heavy-lift launch vehicles.

This will be the first commercial mission for the Falcon Heavy.

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Today, the rocket is the single most powerful spacecraft in operation and SpaceX claims the Heavy exceeds NASA's historic Saturn V rocket by a factor of two. The satellite will be deployed about 34 minutes after launch, but it's those first 34 minutes that will be of most interest to space enthusiasts.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy was raised into the vertical position at around 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. As it turns out, the demand was there for a low-priced, heavy lift booster. SpaceX is expected to attempt to land all three this week.

According to SpaceFlight Now, Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa.

According to the US Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, which is responsible for forecasting the weather for space launches from Kennedy Space Center, there is an 80 per cent chance of favourable weather for this particular launch.

Around 2-3 minutes after take-off, the two reusable side boosters will separate from the center core before attempting to land at SpaceX's landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral.

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.

More recently, the Falcon Heavy rocket has entered the conversation for human exploration.