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10 Things You Need to Know About SpaceX’s Historic Falcon Heavy Launch

1. Liftoff of the Falcon Heavy will occur on Tuesday, February 6th, during a 3-hour launch window that opens at 1:30 PM Eastern time. SpaceX has reserved the next day for launch as well. However, a looming Government shutdown on Wednesday night could delay the Falcon Heavy launch due to the facility and many personnel is government employees.

2. SpaceX will launch the demo flight of its new rocket from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. CEO Elon Musk calls the facility the “Times Square” of launch pads because NASA launched Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong off the pad to walk on the moon. It later served the Space Shuttle era for missions that helped build the International Space Station and place the Hubble telescope. SpaceX leased the site from NASA for 20 years.


​The Saturn V Apollo 11 launch from Kennedy Space Center 39A (NASA)

 

3. Han Solo will fly to the spaceport for launch. Sort of. Harrison Ford has gotten permission to land his private jet at Kennedy Space Center on the Space Shuttle Landing Facility a few hours before the Falcon Heavy launch. Why? because….

4. The Falcon Heavy is named after the Millennium Falcon. Elon Musk says he used the name because Star Wars was the first film he ever saw.

5. The Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9 boosters. And SpaceX will bring home all three boosters. The two side boosters will be flown back to Landing Zones 1 & 2 while the core booster is flown to SpaceX’s autonomous drone ship, the Of Course I Still Love You



 

6. The Falcon Heavy side boosters are previously flown Falcon 9 rockets. SpaceX has grown confident in its recovered fleet and has reflown 5 of them last year and one this year.

7. The side boosters will sport new Titanium grid fins that survive the extreme heat associated with high-velocity re-entry from orbit. They also improve aerodynamic control. Elon Musk says the new serrated Titanium fins are the single largest casting of Titanium in the world.

8. 100,000 people are coming to Cape Canaveral’s space coast to view the launch. It’s the most activity the area has seen since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011.

9. If you haven’t heard yet. The Falcon Heavy demo payload is Elon Musk’s own cherry red Roadster, a luxury electric sports car sold by his other, less important company, Tesla. The triple-booster rocket will launch the car towards a Mars heliocentric orbit. Where it will chase Mars around the Sun for a billion years.


​Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster being loaded into the payload fairing of the Falcon Heavy (SpaceX)

10. Elon Musk first announced the Falcon Heavy in 2011:


 

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