SpaceX's Second Falcon Heavy Primed For Weekend Launch On Arabsat 6A Commercial Mission
SpaceX is currently preparing for the second launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket. After the spectacular success of the first Falcon Heavy launch, there is quite a bit of pressure for SpaceX to perform just as well again. The Falcon Heavy rocket is currently set to launch on April 7th, but some fear that its launch will be delayed. This delay could be terribly inconvenient for both SpaceX and the 100,000 spectators that are expected to flock to Cape Canaveral this weekend.
The Falcon Heavy is expected to launch between 6:36 p.m. through 8:35 p.m. EST on April 7th. It will blast off from the historic Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket will carry the the Arabsat-6A communications satellite, which was built by Lockheed Martin, purchased by the Saudi Arabian government, and intended to provide Internet and mobile phone services for customers in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Two Falcon 9 boosters returning to Earth following the first flight test of the Falcon Heavy -- February 6th, 2018
Eric Ralph of Teslarati estimates there is a 5% chance that the Falcon Heavy will actually launch on Sunday. The Falcon Heavy was supposed to arrive at the Kennedy Space Center on March 31st, but did not arrive until April 1st. SpaceX engineers must first conduct a fire static test before the rocket can be launched. SpaceX is expected to conduct the fire static test today at 6pm. The company originally anticipated that it would need a week between their fire static test and launch. The current schedule would mean that engineers would only have 72 hours to make any changes. Ralph argued that this timeline is simply not realistic.
At the moment, it appears far more likely that the rocket will launch sometime between April 8th and 11th.
Footage from the first Falcon Heavy flight test
The Falcon Heavy is a “partially reusable heavy-lift vehicle”. SpaceX successfully launched the rocket on February 6th, 2018, sending SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster into elliptical orbit around the Sun and Mars. SpaceX was also successfully able to separate and land two of the rocket boosters onto a launchpad at Cape Canaveral. Many are eager to see how the Falcon Heavy will perform during its second voyage.