CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket is getting close to making its commercial launch debut, though a couple of days later than planned.
The company completed a critical prelaunch test Friday when it fired up the massive rocket’s 27 engines.
Right around noon, SpaceX completed a test-fire of its second Falcon Heavy ahead of the commercial launch of Arabsat-6A, which is a Saudi Arabian communications satellite.
“This is 50-60 tons to orbit for a fixed price of $90 million. That’s a real game-changer,” said Dale Ketcham, with Space Florida. “The first one was for show, classic Elon, we’re going to put a red Tesla in orbit around Mars. But that was for show. This one is for business, which is also classic Elon.”
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted Friday afternoon, “Static fire data looks good so far.”
The launch was originally set for Sunday, but was rescheduled for Tuesday after SpaceX was unable to perform its test fire Thursday.
Space news website NASASpaceFlight.com shared video of SpaceX’s Static Fire test on its website and social media.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Static Fire has taken place. Wait for SpaceX confirmation tweet per the review of how the test went.https://t.co/mPW1TxCrww
Clip of the test: pic.twitter.com/A3shFbzi3D
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) April 5, 2019
SpaceX is targeting April 9 for the launch, although Musk has said that date too could change.
“Now that everyone knows how awesome it is, the most powerful rocket in the world, and the twin boosters coming back just north of the port, I think that’s going to draw more people,” Ketcham said.
Titusville police officers are preparing for a lot of pedestrian traffic and heavy congestion, especially around State Road 406 and U.S. 1.
There will be additional details focusing on security and traffic control, police said.
The same is true around Port Canaveral where no parking will be allowed on State Road 401 or State Road 528 median.
The first Falcon Heavy launch was in February 2018. That test launch was famously marked by
Musk, SpaceX founder, sending a dummy payload into space carrying a red Tesla Roadster with a test pilot dummy named Starman.
Tuesday’s launch window will open at 6:36 p.m.
WFTV chief meteorologist Tom Terry said a storm system moving through Tuesday afternoon will bring a 60 percent chance for scattered storms on the Space Coast during the launch window. This estimate is five days out and the timing of the storms arrival could change.
WFTV will have a crew covering the launch and will stream the event online.
Static fire of Falcon Heavy complete—targeting April 9 launch of Arabsat-6A from Launch Complex 39A in Florida
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 5, 2019
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