Update on April 26th, 11:40 a.m. EST: SpaceX is now targeting the Thursday, April 27 launch of its sixth Falcon Heavy mission carrying satellites for Astranis and ViaSat.
SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket will launch for the sixth time ever on Thursday (April 27), and you can watch the action live.
The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:29 p.m. EDT (2329 GMT), carrying two satellites toward far-Earth orbit.
You can watch the launch live here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly through the company (Opens in a new tab).
Related: Elon Musk’s Tesla Falcon Heavy launched the first rocket into space 5 years ago
The primary payload on today’s mission is ViaSat-3 Americas, a 14,000-pound (6,400-kilogram) large-scale satellite that will be operated by California-based Viasat.
The second satellite in flight today is Arcturus, a communications vehicle that will be operated by San Francisco-based Astranis Space Technologies.
Even though it only weighs 300 kg [660 pounds]the powerful communications satellite has the ability to provide a data transfer rate of up to 7.5 gigabits per second for … Alaska and the surrounding area,” EverydayAstronaut.com wrote (Opens in a new tab) From Arcturus in today’s flight description.
The Falcon Heavy consists of three first stages strapped together from the Falcon 9 rocket that powers SpaceX’s workhorse. The central booster mounts an upper stage and the payload(s).
The Falcon Heavy debuted in February 2018 with an unforgettable test flight, sending the Tesla Roadster, founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk, into orbit around the sun with Starman, a mannequin in a spacesuit, at the wheel.
The powerful rocket has flown four more times since then, most recently in January of this year, when it launched a classified USSF-67 mission for the US Space Force.
The Falcon Heavy’s three first-stage boosters are designed to be reusable. However, none of the boosters on today’s mission will be recovered, and presumably they won’t have enough fuel to safely maneuver themselves back to Earth for a vertical descent.
For more than five years, the Falcon Heavy has been SpaceX’s most powerful rocket. But the company’s giant Starship vehicle took that title with its April 20th liftoff, a test flight that reached a maximum altitude of 24 miles (39 kilometers) and ended with a guided blast over the Gulf of Mexico for safety.
The Starship’s 33 first-stage Raptor engines generate 16.7 million pounds of thrust at takeoff, According to SpaceX (Opens in a new tab). That’s three times more than what the Falcon Heavy produces, and almost twice as much as the second-place vehicle, NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to state that the Starship produces 16.7 million pounds (not tons) of thrust at liftoff.
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