SpaceX founder Elon Musk hopes to finally launch Falcon Heavy — the most powerful rocket the company has ever built — on Tuesday, February 6.
The rocket is vertical on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Business Insider is on the ground.
Musk has put his own Tesla Roadster on top as a test payload.
The Falcon Heavy launch aims to send the car on a path to an elliptical Mars orbit.
SpaceX will broadcast its monumental launch live online.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is making its final preparations today to launch Falcon Heavy, the company’s biggest rocket yet and the most powerful operational launch system in the world, for the first time.
On Monday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk personally visited his “monster” rocket, which stands as tall as 23-story building.
If all goes according to plan, Falcon Heavy will ignite its three large boosters around 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday (you can watch live below), and send its bizarre payload — Musk’s own midnight cherry red Tesla Roadster — out to Mars orbit.
“The weather’s looking good, the rocket’s looking good. Normally I feel super stressed out the day before [launch]. This time I don’t. That may be a bad sign, I’m not sure,” Musk told reporters during a phone call on Monday. “I feel quite giddy and happy.”
SpaceX has been preparing for this moment over much of the past five years. If Tuesday’s attempt is a success, and all three of its reusable boosters land themselves — a huge cost-saving shift in an industry that’s used to discarding rockets after one launch — Musk said it could be “game over” for other heavy-lift systems.
‘I’ll consider it a win if it doesn’t blow the pad to smithereens’
While Musk said he was feeling optimistic, he warned not to expect perfection, since this is a test mission.
“We’ve done everything we could do to maximize the chances of success of this mission,” he said. “I think once you’ve done everything you can think of, and if it still goes wrong, well, there’s not much more, there’s nothing you could have done. And I feel at peace with that.”
The one moment Musk really hopes goes correctly is for Falcon Heavy to lift off the ground and move away from NASA’s Launch Complex 39A — the same location Apollo astronauts launched from, and may again soon — and not …read more
Source:: Business Insider