SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will now fly on Wednesday, hopefully

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Block 5 Rocket, Unveiled In The First Official Image

More than a year after its debut mission, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is ready to send a communications satellite for Saudi Arabia into orbit and attempt to accomplish a triple rocket landing after liftoff. But Wednesday has a clear forecast with an 80% probability of a launch, so odds are good the mission will proceed.

For spectators on the Space Coast, meanwhile, the boosters will again return to steal the show - shortly after liftoff, the two side boosters will separate and target automated landings at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Scores of fans and tourists have flocked to the Florida Space Coast for the event, which will be broadcast live on the SpaceX website.

Weather permitting, the Falcon Heavy will take off on its first commercial voyage on Wednesday, April 10.

First and foremost, Falcon Heavy's job is to safely place the Saudi Arabian communications satellite Arabsat 6A into a high-energy geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) more than 35,000 km (~22,000 mi) above Earth's surface.

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Regardless, both Falcon Heavy side boosters will attempt to repeat the iconic side-by-side landings that is now a signature of the rocket's 2018 launch debut, while the center core - traveling much faster at the point of stage separation - will travel almost 1000 km (620 mi) downrange for a landing aboard drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY). Whenever possible, SpaceX plans to launch at lower speeds so they can land and possibly reuse the boosters that make up Falcon Heavy. Until then, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful launch vehicle in the world, which is why Arabsat choose the Falcon Heavy to deploy its 13,200-pound (6,000 kilograms) telecommunications satellite. The side boosters are already scheduled for re-use in June on another Falcon Heavy flight.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch, which has been delayed twice this week, is set for Wednesday evening in Cape Canaveral, Fla., another potential milestone for the company and the US commercial space industry.

With its 27 Merlin engines across the three first stage bodies, the Falcon Heavy can generate up to 2,267 metric tonnes (five million pounds) worth of thrust. The first retrieval didn't go so well for the poor old core booster, which missed the landing and plunged into the ocean. That booster ran out of ignition fluid and couldn't restart its engines for the final landing burn, instead plummeting into the sea. The true test will happen tomorrow, if Falcon Heavy cannot only launch but also land its three boosters.

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