Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

SpaceX Feb. 6 Falcon Heavy launch will be huge

SpaceX Feb. 6 Falcon Heavy launch will be huge

Recently Elon Musk talked about sending his personal Tesla Roadster into space aboard the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Although no specific launch time was announced, the liftoff is likely to take place at 1:30 p.m. EST with a three-hour launch window. According to Musk himself, the launch is scheduled for February 6, when it will blast off from 39A at Cape Kennedy in Florida. Even before the inaugural flights of the purpose-built, highly reusable Block 5 of Falcon 9, now slated for sometime in the next several months, SpaceX is expected to conduct a flurry of flight-proven launches as it wears down its stock of soon-to-be-outdated rockets of the Block 3 and 4 varieties. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket recieved certification for national security payloads in 2015, and Falcon Heavy will need to go through a similar process before it can be used in that capacity.

Set to be the nightcap of relatively slow January for SpaceX, the rocket company is nearing the end of preparations for the launch of a communications satellite co-owned by SES and the government of Luxembourg, known as GovSat-1/SES-16. Falcon Heavy can lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb), that's more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

The Falcon 9 is regularly utilized for the goal of hoisting space station cargo and satellites.

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The Falcon Heavy has been in the works for several years now and has seen more than a few delays. SpaceX A rendering of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. 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.

The rocket weighs more than 3.1 million pounds and loaded with kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants. He shared the news on Instagram late last year, writing: "The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit". Elon Musk posted it on Twitter.

The Falcon Heavy is basically three Falcon 9 cores strapped together.

Somewhat sadly, the inherent engineering limits of older versions of Falcon 9 and the imminent introduction of Block 5 mean that SpaceX has less and less of a need to recover flight proven boosters that have no hope of being cost-effectively refurbished and conducting additional flights. VIPs can buy a ticket to watch the launch at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex.

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