- SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday. The current timetable suggests blastoff could happen around 3:45 p.m. ET.
- The rocket will carry Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster as its payload.
- If the launch is successful, the Falcon Heavy rocket could be used for future manned space missions.
- You can watch a live feed of the launch below.
SpaceX is set to launch its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time on Tuesday.
The 230-foot-tall system will carry the 2008 Tesla Roadster of SpaceX’s founder, Elon Musk, as its initial payload. If all goes according to plan, Musk says, the car will be sent to Mars orbit.
Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket SpaceX has ever attempted to launch – much bigger and stronger than the company’s Falcon 9 system. That means it has enough thrust to launch payloads heavier than a car into space and could therefore be used for future manned missions.
The rocket has 27 engines, which fire simultaneously. Its three boosters are designed to land themselves after delivering payloads to space. Reusing such rocket boosters could save millions of dollars on launches – boosters are usually discarded after a single use – in turn making delivery of satellites or people into space much cheaper.
SpaceX tested the Falcon Heavy rocket on January 24. But Musk has said it will take a highly coordinated “aerial ballet” for the launch to be successful, and he has repeatedly warned that there’s a “good chance” the rocket will explode.
For those who want to watch the drama unfold live, SpaceX will broadcast the event on its website and YouTube channel, as it has done for other launches.
The launch was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, though the window goes as late as 4:30 p.m. The current timetable suggests blastoff could happen around 3:45 p.m., depending on weather conditions.
However, the event could get delayed for a variety of reasons. A backup time has been set for Wednesday afternoon, though that’s not a guarantee either.
The Falcon Heavy rocket will blast off from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the same pad where the first manned missions to the moon originated.
Tune in here to watch the Falcon Heavy launch live: