Watch the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch Today


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.

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The Falcon Heavy rocket during a test of its engines on Jan. 24.

Credit
SpaceX, via Associated Press

When are they launching it and how can I watch?

SpaceX will broadcast the launch on its website, spacex.com, and on YouTube, which is embedded aboe.

The launch is currently scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Eastern time. It was postponed from 1:30 p.m. due to high-altitude winds. SpaceX has until 4 p.m. to attempt a launch.

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.”

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Falcon Heavy Prepares to Launch

SpaceX plans to launch its newest rocket, the Falcon Heavy, on Tuesday.



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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.

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.