Update for April 28: SpaceX is now targeting Friday (April 28) for its sixth Falcon Heavy mission to launch satellites for Viasat, Astranis and Gravity Space. Bad weather at its Pad 39A launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida delayed the mission from April 25, 26 and 27. Liftoff is currently set for 7:29 pm ET (2329 GMT).
SpaceX’s mighty Falcon Heavy rocket will launch for the sixth time on Friday (April 28), and you can watch the action live.
Falcon Heavy is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:29 p.m. EDT (2329 GMT) on Friday to lift three satellites into high-Earth orbit.
You can watch the liftoff live on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX Directly through the company (opens in new tab).
Related: SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket launched Elon Musk’s Tesla 5 years ago.
Friday’s mission’s primary payload is ViaSat-3 Americas, a 14,000-pound (6,400-kilogram) broadband satellite operated by California-based company Viasat.
The second satellite to fly by Friday is Arcturus, a communications spacecraft operated by San Francisco-based Astronis Space Technologies.
“However, it weighs only 300 kg [660 pounds]A communications satellite capable of delivering up to 7.5 Gbps of data capacity to Alaska and surrounding areas,” Written by EverydayAstronaut.com (opens in new tab) Arcturus in today’s flight description.
The third payload is GS-1, a cubesat operated by Washington-based Gravity Space. GS-1’s primary mission involves providing communications for Internet of Things applications, although it will also do a few other things in orbit.
“The spacecraft is designed to provide orbital slot reservation services (BIU) around the geosynchronous arc. The spacecraft has three broad spectrum bandwidths,” Gravity Space wrote. Satellite description (opens in new tab). “The spacecraft will carry an imaging system capable of imaging both Earth and interstellar bodies, as well as an experimental rendezvous and docking payload.”
Falcon Heavy consists of three built first stages of SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket. The central booster is topped by the upper stage and payload(s).
Falcon Heavy debuted in February 2018 with a memorable test flight that sent SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun with Starman, a spacesuited mannequin, at the wheel.
The Burley rocket has since flown four times, most recently in January of this year, when it launched a classified USSF-67 mission for the US Space Force.
Falcon Heavy’s three first-stage boosters are designed to be reusable. However, none of the boosters will be recovered on today’s mission because there won’t be enough fuel left to safely return to Earth for vertical touchdown.
For more than five years, the Falcon Heavy was SpaceX’s most powerful rocket. But the company’s gigantic Starship vehicle took that title with its first liftoff on April 20, a test flight that reached a maximum altitude of 24 miles (39 kilometers) and ended in an ordered explosion above the Gulf of Mexico for safety.
Starship’s 33 first-stage Raptor engines generate 16.7 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, According to SpaceX (opens in new tab). That’s three times more than the Falcon Heavy makes and nearly twice as much as the second-place vehicle, NASA’s Space Launch System Megarocket.
Friday’s scheduled launch was delayed several times by bad weather. For instance, one attempt was called off on Thursday (April 27), as weather officials released Hurricane warnings (opens in new tab) To Florida’s Space Coast.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to say that Starship produces 16.7 million pounds (not tons) of thrust at liftoff.
By Mike Wall “outside (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelWall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) Or Facebook (opens in new tab).