As I write this, it is currently 1:00 EST. The launch window for the Spacex Falcon Heavy Launch Vehicle opens in a half hour and stays open until around 4:00 PM EST. As of right now, the official launch time is set for 3:05 PM EST. This is the first test of the vehicle that could very well be carrying humans on the first flight to Mars! Today’s flight won’t be carrying people, but it will be carrying Elon Musk’s Cherry Red convertible! It may sound a little silly when you consider that he’s shooting a car into space with a dummy behind the wheel, but this might be the most significant step that we’ve taken towards landing a person on Mars since the advent of space flight.
Here’s an animation of what Spacex hopes will happen, along with proof that David Bowie music should accompany all future space flights.
Here’s the feed for the actual launch:
When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.
Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. 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.