Space rocket launches don’t happen every day, so if you can tune in just before 6.30pm tonight in the UK (1.30pm ET / 10.30am PT), you can witness today’s spectacle from Florida right here on this page.
In case you’ve not been following the news, the Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful rocket, with twice the payload capacity of any previous rocket. It’s essentially three of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, which have the equivalent liftoff thrust of 18 Boeing 747 planes.
It’s capable of carrying a 64 tonne payload which, bizarrely enough, includes Elon Musk’s own Tesla convertible.
The Falcon Heavy will head off to Mars where the plan (among other objectives) is to launch the Tesla into orbit around Mars. Cameras attached to the car are hoped to provide “epic views” of space. And amusingly enough, the car has been fitted with a dummy in a spacesuit for a driver and the stereo will play David Bowie’s Life on Mars.
When is the Falcon Heavy launch?
The launch is set for 1.30pm local time at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
That’s 6.30pm in the UK, 7.30pm in Europe and 10.30am for those on the west coast of the US.
SpaceX has said it has a three-hour launch window. If today’s attempt fails (without blowing up), a second attempt will be made tomorrow (Wednesday 7 February).
How can I watch the SpaceX launch live?
We’ve embedded the stream at the top of this page, so you can watch it right here from around 6.15pm UK time.
If it isn’t working for some reason, the launch is also being streamed on the SpaceX website.
What happens to the rocket after launch?
The aim is to land the three ‘boosters’ back on Earth, so the Falcon Heavy won’t be carrying anywhere near its 64 tonne limit. Instead, some of the capacity will be used for extra fuel necessary to return the valuable rockets as they’ve been booked for several other tasks in the future, including launching new satellites.
Mr Musk says that the Falcon Heavy costs around US$90m per launch. And that’s cheap compared to the estimated US$1bn for each launch of NASA’s own forthcoming Space Launch System.