SpaceX to launch Falcon Heavy Wednesday from Cape Canaveral

This Is How the Huge Bottom of the Falcon Heavy Looks Like

Over the weekend, preparations for the rocket's second ever launch into space continued in a hangar near the Launch Complex 39A, and this time SpaceX made a decision to give the world a sneak peek into how the monstrous machine comes together.

The company plans to start a live stream of the launch about 20 minutes before 8 p.m. unless there are additional delays.

SpaceX is half a day away from the planned launch debut of Falcon Heavy Block 5, a milestone that will also be the rocket's second launch ever and first mission with a commercial payload. Planetary scientists have also said the rocket's mere existence has put price pressure on other boosters typically used for deep space probes.

If the launch slips to Thursday conditions are even better, according to the 45th Weather Squadron.

Falcon Heavy's three Falcon 9 components are clearly on display in the hangar before its Wednesday launch.

This time around SpaceX has a paying customer to please.

A Saudi Arabian communications satellite is scheduled to blast off this evening in what will be the Falcon Heavy's first operational mission.

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Introducing a new ultra-powerful rocket has allowed SpaceX to compete directly with arch rival United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for lucrative government contracts that require heavy-lift launch vehicles. The company's reusable rockets will make their way back down to Earth for soft landings that will allow them to be used again. The rocket's two side boosters will roar back to Cape Canaveral to land simultaneously just down the coast from the launch site, Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

Falcon Heavy's most immediate and tangible impact has been with national security missions. The satellite will be deployed about 34 minutes after launch, but it's those first 34 minutes that will be of most interest to space enthusiasts.

The Falcon Heavy's twin boosters made a simultaneous landing on pads at Cape Canaveral successfully during the test flight a year ago.

Falcon Heavy's debut flight a year ago attracted massive attention, in part because CEO Elon Musk chose to launch his own luxury Tesla Roadsteras the test payload. But the middle booster missed a seaborne platform it was created to land on, and instead splashed into the ocean.

But in the 14 months since the large rocket's inaugural flight, Falcon Heavy has had a remarkable effect on the nation's space policy.

Though Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch ultimately went off without a hitch, SpaceX will now have to repeat that success with the added risk of carrying a multimillion dollar satellite.

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