Technology Watch the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch Today

15:56  06 february  2018
15:56  06 february  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

SpaceX sets February launch date for Falcon Heavy. Here's what you need to know

  SpaceX sets February launch date for Falcon Heavy. Here's what you need to know If you're just catching up to all the action with SpaceX's new Falcon Heavy rocket, we've answered all the questions you're too embarrassed to ask. Falcon Heavy is a brand new rocket that's set to launch for the first time ever on February 6, SpaceX announced on Saturday.

Today , SpaceX simultaneously fired up all 27 engines on its new massive Falcon Heavy rocket — a crucial final test for the vehicle before its first flight in the coming weeks. Watch SpaceX launch a satellite for Luxembourg on a used Falcon 9 rocket .

SpaceX 's Falcon Heavy megarocket was rolled out on the launchpad today (Dec. 28), as the company prepares for the rocket 's maiden flight, which is scheduled for next month. Watch a time-lapse video of SpaceX 's Falcon Heavy rocket going vertical at launch pad 39A this morning.

Elon Musk standing posing for the camera: Elon Musk, the found of SpaceX, at Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, where the Falcon Heavy rocket is expected to launch on Tuesday afternoon. © Todd Anderson for The New York Times Elon Musk, the found of SpaceX, at Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, where the Falcon Heavy rocket is expected to launch on Tuesday afternoon.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — After facing early failures and skeptical attitudes, SpaceX has disrupted the business of launching rockets into space by combining cut-rate prices with the routine recovery of used rocket boosters. On Tuesday, the company, founded by Elon Musk, hopes to achieve a new milestone with a successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, which would be the most powerful rocket in operation in the world today.

Elon Musk: Falcon Heavy will be 'great rocket launch or the best fireworks display'

  Elon Musk: Falcon Heavy will be 'great rocket launch or the best fireworks display' Elon Musk's SpaceX is planning to launch its massive new Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday.Load Error

Elon Musk, the found of SpaceX , at Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, where the Falcon Heavy rocket is expected to launch on Tuesday afternoon. Credit Todd Anderson for The New York Times.

A SpaceX rocket will take to the skies today (Jan. 14) for the first time since a Sept. 1 launchpad explosion, and you can watch the highly anticipated liftoff live. An engineer works on one of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites prior to its launch into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket .

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Mr. Musk’s ultimate goal — sending people to Mars — requires inventing businesses and profits that do not exist today. He also may be angling for the federal government to help pay his way.

Whatever the case, the Falcon Heavy is SpaceX’s next step in aiming beyond the existing launch business and demonstrating that it can do more than place communications satellites in orbit and haul cargo for NASA to the International Space Station.

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What exactly is SpaceX launching?

The Falcon Heavy rocket is essentially a turbocharged version of SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket. It is the same height and its central booster looks the same. But attached on the sides are two additional Falcon 9 boosters, which triples the thrust at liftoff. That means that the Heavy will be able to lift far heavier payloads, up to 140,000 pounds, to low-Earth orbit.

The rocket is sitting on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That’s the same starting point of some of NASA’s most famous achievements, including Apollo 11 in 1969, the first mission that took astronauts to the moon, and the first space shuttle launch in 1981.

SpaceX fires up rocket that will carry the first two 'global internet' Starlink satellites

  SpaceX fires up rocket that will carry the first two 'global internet' Starlink satellites SpaceX has just completed their customary static test firing of the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry two demosats SpaceX has just completed their customary static test firing of the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry two demosats — Paz and Starlink. The launch has been scheduled for 17 February from the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The launch is currently set for 6:35PM ET today ; the landing attempt will happen shortly after takeoff. The satellite is one of the heaviest SpaceX has ever launched . Next Up In Science. Watch SpaceX launch a satellite for Luxembourg on a used Falcon 9 rocket .

Elon Musk and the SpaceX team want to launch the Falcon Heavy before the end of the month if possible Emri Kelly said in a report for Florida Today yesterday that “ SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 3:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday for a test fire of its Falcon Heavy rocket at Kennedy Space Center.

When are they launching it and how can I watch?

SpaceX will broadcast the launch on its website, spacex.com, beginning at 1:10 p.m. Eastern, and on YouTube. We’ll add the live video feed to this page once it becomes available.

The launch window is from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Weather forecasts call for an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, or if some technical glitch postpones the launch, SpaceX has a second opportunity on Wednesday, also between 1:30 and 4:00 p.m. (If that happens, you can sign up for The Times’s Space Calendar to get a reminder.)

“The weather is looking good,” said Elon Musk, the founder and chief executive of SpaceX at a news conference on Monday. “The rocket is looking good.”

Why is the Falcon Heavy launch important??

The Falcon Heavy will be able to lift more payload than any other American rocket since the Saturn 5, the gargantuan rocket that NASA used for the Apollo moon landings. (The space shuttle also had more liftoff thrust, but less payload capacity, because most of the thrust went into lifting the orbiter.) It is also the first time that a commercial company has developed such a large rocket without any government financing.

The Falcon Heavy will allow SpaceX to bid on missions for the Air Force for some spy satellites that are too heavy for the Falcon 9, and it could be useful to NASA for launching large space probes. Some think it could even serve as a replacement for the Space Launch System, a gigantic rocket NASA is currently developing for carrying astronauts on deep space missions, to the moon and eventually Mars.

Watch Starman and its Tesla get swallowed by the darkness of space

  Watch Starman and its Tesla get swallowed by the darkness of space Starman is drifting farther and farther away from us, that a lot of the telescopes that have been tracking its journey will soon no longer be able to see it. The Virtual Telescope Project, which has been keeping an eye on the spacefarer and its trusty Tesla from the time they left the planet aboard the first Falcon Heavy launch, is bidding the duo goodbye by live streaming their trajectory one last time.

Watch Live. Viewing Spots. Upcoming Rocket Launch List. July 29. 2016. Date: January 30, 2018. Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9 SES 16/GovSat 1. Date: February 6, 2018. Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Demonstration Flight.

Kennedy space center. Open Today 9 am - 6 pm. Visitors can watch rockets blast off, meet astronauts and celebrate holidays in space , just to name a few. Rocket Launch : February 6, 2018 | SpaceX Falcon Heavy Inaugural Flight.

In terms of SpaceX’s core business, it’s less important than when the company first announced it seven years ago because of improvements the company made to the Falcon 9. That rocket can now carry considerably heavier payloads.

What will Falcon Heavy carry into space?

The payload is Mr. Musk’s cherry red Roadster from Tesla, his electric car company.

[Video: Falcon Heavy Animation Watch on YouTube.]

Test rockets typically carry a dummy payload, and Mr. Musk said he wanted to do something more fun. There are three cameras on the Roadster. “They should provide some epic views if they work,” Mr. Musk said.

That’s a more ambitious payload than what was on the Falcon 9 flight that carried the first Dragon cargo capsule in 2010. For that one, SpaceX put a wheel of cheese aboard.

Will the car get to Mars?

When Mr. Musk first posted on Twitter his intent to send a car on the Heavy launch, he said the destination was “Mars orbit.” The car will not go into orbit around Mars. Rather the second stage of the Heavy is to fire three times to send the car on an elliptical orbit around the sun that extends as far out as Mars, and that car could remain in orbit for hundreds of millions of years. At times, it might pass very close to Mars, and Mr. Musk said there was an “extremely tiny” chance that it could crash into Mars.

What could go wrong?

According to Mr. Musk, a lot. “This is a test mission,” he said. “There is so much that can go wrong.”

Tesla on course for close encounter with Earth in 2091

  Tesla on course for close encounter with Earth in 2091 New analysis shows the Tesla Roadster launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket won't hit Earth anytime soonLaunched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket last week, the Roadster was boosted into an elliptical orbit around the sun. It will pass within about 68.7 million miles of Mars on June 10 and cross the red planet's orbit in July before reaching its farthest distance from the sun -- 154.7 million miles -- on Nov. 9.

The satellite being launched today is BulgariaSat-1, which is owned and operated by Bulgarian TV service provider Bulsatcom. Watch SpaceX launch a satellite for Luxembourg on a used Falcon 9 rocket .

As long as the rocket gets high enough so that any explosions do not damage the launchpad, Mr. Musk said he would regard that as a success. (The propellant on the rocket at launch will have the explosive energy of four million pounds of TNT, he said.)

Damage from a launchpad explosion would take nine to 12 months to repair, Mr. Musk estimated. When a Falcon 9 exploded on the launchpad at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in September 2016, the pad was out of commission for more than a year

Mr. Musk said he is usually “super stressed” the day before a launch, but this time, “I feel quite giddy and happy.” He added that perhaps that was a bad sign.

He put chances of a complete success — the rocket taking off, successfully launching its payload and then landing its three boosters back on Earth — at one-half to two-thirds.

A test firing of the Falcon Heavy’s 27 engines at the launchpad in January showed that SpaceX knows how to ignite all of them — nine in each of the three boosters — at once.

The greatest unknown is the aerodynamical interactions of the three boosters as they accelerate though through the sound barrier during ascent, with shock waves bouncing between them. The system to separate the side boosters also has not yet been tested in flight.

Once all of the boosters have dropped off, and the second stage engine starts, the greatest challenges will have passed.

But not all.

The second stage will coast for six hours, part of the orbital maneuvers needed to position it for the journey away from Earth. In the process, it will pass through the Van Allen radiation belts, the energetic charged particles caught in Earth’s magnetic field. SpaceX has not performed such a long coast for a second stage before, and there could be glitches like the freezing of the fuel. The Van Allen belts could also cause electrical glitches.

SpaceX will also try to recover all three boosters. The two side boosters are to set down on land at Cape Canaveral while the central booster will head toward a floating platform in the Atlantic.

“I’d say tune in,” Mr. Musk said. “It’s going to be worth your time.”

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Tesla on course for close encounter with Earth in 2091 .
New analysis shows the Tesla Roadster launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket won't hit Earth anytime soonLaunched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket last week, the Roadster was boosted into an elliptical orbit around the sun. It will pass within about 68.7 million miles of Mars on June 10 and cross the red planet's orbit in July before reaching its farthest distance from the sun -- 154.7 million miles -- on Nov. 9.

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