February 19, 2018

Photos: Falcon Heavy in position for first test launch

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket stood atop historic launch pad 39A on Monday, one day before 27 kerosene-fueled rocket engines will dispatch the towering rocket into space with nearly 5 million pounds of thrust.

Liftoff Tuesday is planned during a two-and-a-half hour launch window opening at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT). The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon Heavy will take off from pad 39A, a seaside launch facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, previously a departure point for Saturn 5 moon rockets and space shuttles.

Tuesday’s demonstration flight will attempt to heave an electric sports car belonging of SpaceX founder Elon Musk on a trajectory to escape Earth’s gravitational grasp. The maneuvers required to send Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster into a heliocentric orbit around the sun will help engineers verify the Falcon Heavy’s key performance parameters, officials said.

The Falcon Heavy is made of three first stage cores derived from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, combining to cluster 27 Merlin 1D engines together.

Follow our Mission Status Center for live coverage of the countdown and launch.

Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

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