February 25, 2018

Watch Falcon Heavy rocket launch from Florida online today

07 February 2018, 12:27 | Megan Pierce

A view of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at dusk

A view of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at dusk

At 3:45 pm EST, the world's most powerful operational booster lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida on a demonstration mission meant to gather information about the reusable launch system before it goes into service.

NASA is also working on the Space Launch System, a rocket created to eventually take humans to Mars. It's going to launch today in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2:20 pm EST (moved from its original 1:30 pm time slot).

Propelled by 27 rocket engines, the Falcon Heavy packs more than 5 million pounds of thrust at launch, roughly three times the force of the Falcon 9 booster that until now has been the workhorse of the SpaceX fleet. For this launch, though, the Falcon Heavy will have a smaller, stranger payload: Musk's vehicle, a red Tesla Roadster.

A prettier payload than blocks of concrete or steel, the vehicle appears to be helmed by "Starman", a dummy wearing the stylish yet functional SpaceX spacesuits. The live video feed of the ship cut out before the core approached; SpaceX has yet to confirm if the core successfully landed.

Watch this animation to learn what the goal is for today's launch.

Created to have more than twice the lifting capacity of the next closest operational vehicle, United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy, the Falcon Heavy has the ability to lift almost 64 metric tonnes (141,000 lb) into orbit. And Musk hopes this first Falcon Heavy launch will be a pivotal step in getting humans to Mars.

A failure would be a setback for the company, especially as it prepares to carry NASA astronauts later this year on another rocket, the Falcon 9.

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Two side boosters will be released first, after which they will hopefully be redirected to landing sites in Florida so they can be refurbished and re-used.

The rocket stands 230 feet (70 meters) tall and will be the world's most powerful operational rocket, able to lift payloads of up to 119,000 lbs.

SpaceX has taken a long time preparing for this test launch.

On Monday, Musk said the auto would be outfitted with three cameras that should be able to beam back "some epic views".

Elon Musk is about to test out his new creation: The Falcon Heavy.

"You can toss a Dragon way past the moon". "And then we thought well, maybe we can make BFR development go faster than we thought, if that's true then there won't be much point in qualifying Falcon Heavy for launching Dragons".

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