After windy conditions thwarted a first attempt, SpaceX is now aiming to launch the company's huge Falcon Heavy rocket on its first commercial flight on Thursday.
The 230-foot-tall rocket is scheduled to lift off at 6:35 p.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch was originally targeted for Tuesday, but bad weather earlier in the week and high winds at the launch site Wednesday evening forced SpaceX to postpone the attempt.
SpaceX officials tweeted that the rocket's systems are prepared for the launch and weather conditions are looking promising.
When the Falcon Heavy does lift off, it will be only the second flight for the world’s most powerful rocket now in operation.
The Falcon Heavy will be carrying a Saudi telecommunications satellite into Earth orbit. The 13,200-pound Arabsat 6A satellite is designed to provide television, internet and mobile phone services to parts of the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The rocket is made up of three central boosters based on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which the company has been using to carry cargo to the International Space Station since 2012. The rocket’s engines “generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, making it the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two,” SpaceX tweeted on April 7.
The Falcon Heavy weighs more than 3.1 million pounds and is designed to carry up to 140,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit — more than any American rocket since NASA’s Saturn V, which flew Apollo astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s.
The Falcon Heavy made its test launch in February 2018, when it put a whimsical payload into space: a cherry-red Tesla Roadster with a spacesuit-wearing mannequin nicknamed Starman in the driver’s seat.
Musk, who also heads up Tesla, said he had intended to put the car into orbit around Mars. But the vehicle wound up in orbit around the sun, where Musk said it could remain for “millions or billions of years.”
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