Almost every news station in America is talking about the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch next week, but what exactly is it? More importantly, where are spectators able to watch it? Below, we have compiled all of the information you need about the upcoming SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch.
What is the Falcon Heavy Rocket?
The Falcon Heavy Rocket is a payload-bearing rocket developed by SpaceX to deliver large and heavy payloads into orbit around Earth or other planets. This specific launch will be delivering SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s personal vehicle, a *year Tesla Roadster, to orbit around Mars. Musk said in a tweet it was the “Silliest thing [SpaceX] could imagine,” and explained later on that the Roadster inside of the rocket would be playing “Space Oddity” by David Bowie on the radio.
Silliest thing we can imagine! Secret payload of 1st Dragon flight was a giant wheel of cheese. Inspired by a friend & Monty Python.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 31, 2017
The rocket is officially the largest rocket in history by a factor of two and can lift a payload into space for one third of the cost of its largest predecessor, the Delta IV rocket. Powered by three Falcon 9 rocket engines, containing twenty-seven total Merlin engines between the three, the engines will produce over five million pounds of thrust at liftoff, before taking the payload to high altitudes and landing perfectly on landing pads back on the ground. The second stage of the rocket then will bring the rocket into orbit and position the payload for its final trip to the red planet before also landing back on Earth.
Where and when is the Falcon Heavy launch?
The Falcon Heavy launch is set to take place on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 at 1:30 P.M.. The rocket will be launching from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A, which also served as the launch pad for the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.
Where can I view the Falcon Heavy launch?
Apart from a few public viewing areas, watching the launch up close can be a bit costly, however, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch will be visible from most parts of Florida. The launch is popular enough that most launch ticket packages sold out within the first few days after the announcement, however, the Kennedy Space Center still has tickets left for $75 per person that includes access to a private viewing area just 7.5 miles from the launch pad, two-day admission to the Kennedy Space Center, a commemorative item from the launch, and a digital photo on the day of the launch.
Some viewing areas charge parking, however for around $10-$20, watching this historic launch up close is worth the small fee. Sidney Fischer Park and Alan Shepard Park in Cocoa Beach, and Jetty Park Beach and Pier in Port Canaveral all offer parking and launch viewing for just $15 per car.
Free viewing areas include places such as Max Brewer Bridge, Parrish Park, and Space View Park in Titusville, and Sand Point Park, Rotary Riverfront Part, and Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach.
For any public viewing area, it is recommended to show up early, due to predictions of massive crowds causing some places to shut down. Links to every location can be found below.
What should I bring to the launch?
For those who want to be prepared, it is helpful to have a checklist before attending.
If capturing one of the most important moments in space travel history is on the to-do list, pack any DSLR camera with a zoom lens to capture the launch in better detail from far away. A tripod may be useful as well. Without a camera, a good pair of binoculars or a low power telescope will work perfectly for getting the best view of the launch.
For the early birds attending the launch that plan to arrive in the morning, be sure to pack some snacks and a good book to pass the time. A couple of chairs or a blanket to sit on is great for relaxing for a couple of hours before the launch, and the 75-degree weather will be perfect for a pre-launch picnic. Some may want to pack a light jacket in case of wind.
It is not every day that spectators are able to witness the largest rocket in the world take off in person, so take this opportunity to watch a once-in-a-lifetime event using the information you have read so far, and enjoy the first ever SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch.
Locations to watch: Kennedy Space Center, Sidney Fischer Park, Alan Shepard Park, Jetty Park Beach and Pier, Max Brewer Bridge, Parrish Park, Space View Park, Sand Point Park, Rotary Riverfront Park, and Lori Wilson Park.
Photo via SpaceX.com