Maiden Falcon Heavy Targets Feb. 6 Launch Says SpaceX CEO Elon Musk



Maiden
SpaceX Falcon Heavy stands vertical at seaside pad
39A at the Kennedy Space Center as Falcon 9 booster set to deliver SES-16/GovSat-1
stands vertical at pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after Jan. 26,
2018 static fire test.  Falcon Heavy blastoff
is slated for Feb. 6 and Falcon 9 blastoff is slated for Jan. 30, 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
Ken
Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     27
Jan 2018

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The maiden test flight of
the powerful triple stick
SpaceX
Falcon Heavy rocket is now scheduled for blastoff on Feb. 6 from NASA’s Kennedy
Space Center announced SpaceX CEO and billionaire founder Elon Musk in a brief
tweet officially revealing the targeted launch date publicly for the first time
today. 

“Aiming for
first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy,”
Musk tweeted Saturday, Jan. 27 – even as his firm’s single stick Falcon 9 targets
blastoff on Tuesday, Jan 30 on nearby pad 40 on the Florida Space Coast.

Thus there were
briefly a dynamic duo of SpaceX Falcon series of rockets simultaneously vertical
– as I witnessed and reported here.  See
our exclusive Space UpClose gallery.   

2 soon
to launch SpaceX rockets stand simultaneous erect at Florida’s Spaceport:  Falcon Heavy at pad
39A at the Kennedy Space Center at left and Falcon 9 booster carrying SES-16/GovSat-1
at pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at right post Jan. 26, 2018 static
fire test.  Falcon Heavy blastoff slated
for Feb. 6 and Falcon 9 blastoff slated for Jan. 30, 2018.   Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com

The triple core
rocket will lift off from
historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in the early
afternoon during a launch window that opens at 1:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 6.

The three-hour
long launch window extends from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 pm EST (18:30-21:30 GMT)
.  The backup launch day is Feb. 7.

The enormous 22
story tall Falcon Heavy vehicle will generate by far the loudest, most impressive
and tremendous sounds thundering out from Florida’s Spaceport since the shuttle
shutdown in 2011.

The
inaugural SpaceX Falcon Heavy stands vertical at night at pad 39A while bathed
in light at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as seen on Jan. 12, 2018
from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore
prior to planned static test firing of all 27 first stage engines this week. Debut
liftoff slated for Feb. 6, 2018. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com

It’s truly ‘Rocket Heaven’ at Florida’s Spaceport – with a
double dose of SpaceX Falcons totaling four cores launching back to back.

Launch
of the soon to be ‘World’s Most Powerful Rocket’ on its first demonstration
mission is at last at hand in less than 10 days time after years of
postponements to refine and validate the design and develop, ready and test this
incredible complex “beast” of a vehicle.  

27
first stage Merlin 1D engines will ignite to generate nearly 5 million pounds
of liftoff thrust rumbling across the Florida Space Coast as it starts its history
making soar to space.

The
Falcon Heavy has about double the liftoff thrust of its nearest competitor – namely
the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy.  

“We’re stepping through this carefully, it’s a beast of a vehicle,”
says SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell.

But before
the Falcon Heavy can blast off, the Falcon 9 carrying the SES-16/GovSat-1 communications
satellite must safely deliver the commercial payload to geosynchronous transfer
orbit.

The
maiden Falcon Heavy’s payload is Musk’s Tesla Roaster that will be hurled
outward on a whimsical trip on a long looping heliocentric journey out to Mars
orbit but actually will approach nowhere near the Red Planet.  Musk also owns Tesla.

NASA’s
Apollo Saturn manned Moon landing rockets as well the Space Shuttles lifted off
from Launch Complex 39A dating back to the 1960s for Apollo and the commencing
with the Shuttles in the 1980s until the retirement in 2011. 

SpaceX
has leased pad 39A from NASA under a long term contract.  After upgrading and refurbishing the
structures and facilities SpaceX reactivated pad 39A and began launching the
Falcon 9 in February 2017.

The fast approaching
Falcon Heavy launch has generated tremendous interest in the general public – in
addition to the space community – and local hotels and viewing locations are
expected to be swamped.

Indeed the Kennedy
Space Center Visitor Complex has already sold out all ticket packages for the
two closest and most expensive viewing locations.

But not to worry,
there are plenty of free viewing locations at beaches, highways, causeways and
parks ringing the Kennedy Space Center.

“Easy viewing
from the public causeway,” Musk noted.


The path to launch was cleared when the SpaceX
launch team successfully completed the critical hold down static hot fire test just
days ago on Jan. 24, when all 27 Merlin engines were lit together for the very
first time.

Check out our Falcon Heavy static fire test photos
here.

Maiden SpaceX
Falcon Heavy ignites 27 first stage engines during first ever static fire test generating
5 million pounds of thrust and an enormous exhaust plume on Launch Complex 39A
at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as seen on Jan. 24, 2018 from
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. 
Debut liftoff slated for Feb. 6, 2018. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com

Watch
this video of the the Jan 24 static test fire:

Video
Caption: SpaceX Falcon Heavy TEST FIRE Jan 24, 2018. America’s new rocket, the
inaugural SpaceX Falcon Heavy, came to life for the first time for a Static
Test Fire on KSC pad 39A Jan 24, 2018. 
Credit: Jeff Seibert

A
successful static fire test is one of the last major milestones required before
SpaceX can attempt to really launch the Falcon Heavy on the maiden
demonstration mission of this very complicated vehicle.

The
payload is Musk’s Tesla Roaster that will be hurled outward on a whimsical trip
to Mars orbit.

The
triple stick Falcon Heavy is comprised of a trio of Falcon 9 boosters –
including a significantly modified central core, to deal with aerodynamic
stresses, that is attached to a pair of side-mounted cores with newly developed
nose cones mounted in place of payload fairings. 

The
two side cores are ‘flight-proven’ boosters that already launched once and are
being recycled for the Heavy.

First
fully integrated SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was raised vertical at Launch
Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as seen up close on
Jan. 9, 2017.  Nose cone housing Tesla Roadster payload is
stenciled with Falcon Heavy logo. Debut liftoff slated for Feb
. 6, 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com


The
gigantic two stage Falcon Heavy stands
more than 229 feet (70 meters) tall and measures 39.9 feet
wide (12.2 meters).  It also features a
dozen grid fins and a dozen landing legs attached to the first stage boosters
in an attempt to soft land all three cores – by land and by sea.

Watch
for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of Falcon Heavy, ULA and NASA and
space mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com





………….



Ken’s upcoming outreach events:



Learn more about the upcoming SpaceX Falcon Heavy
and Falcon 9 SES-16/GovSat-1 launches on Jan. 30 & Feb. 6, NASA missions, ULA
Atlas & Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events
at Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL:


Jan 29/30: “SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9
launches, ULA Atlas USAF SBIRS GEO 4 missile warning
satellite,
SpaceX SES-16/GovSat-1, CRS-13/14 resupply launches to the ISS,
Intelsat 35e, BulgariaSat 1 and NRO Spysat, SLS, Orion, Commercial crew
capsules from Boeing and SpaceX , GOES-S weather satellite launch, OSIRIS-Rex,
Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, SpaceX and Orbital ATK cargo missions to
the ISS, ULA Delta 4 Heavy spy satellite, Curiosity and Opportunity explore
Mars, NH at Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL,
evenings. Photos for sale






Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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