Where to watch, launch time

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Here in Central Florida, we have gotten used to the near-weekly launches of SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets from the Cape, but the Falcon Heavy is a different story and serves a different purpose.With five million pounds of thrust, experts say the Heavy is the largest and most powerful rocket available – aside from NASA’s SLS big moon rocket that just had its first test mission.“It has the ability to put satellites into orbit that pretty much no other rocket can come close to,” Platt said.Essentially, the Heavy is three Falcon 9 boosters lined up next to each other and connected. And that makes it a much more complex rocket to launch and control.“There are so many more engines. There’s so much more plumbing. But then there’s also more software, there’s different control algorithms that are used to make sure the rocket stays on track. So in some aspects, it’s probably more than three times more difficult,” Play said. And one of those difficult aspects is also one of the most spectacular to watch when the two side boosters land vertically on Landing Zones One and Two just seconds apart.The core booster will use all its fuel to carry the payload further out and that’s part of the reason why the Falcon Heavy is in a class by itself. Like the last mission in November, it’ll carry payloads for the U.S. Space Force into deep GEO orbit. This will be the fifth Falcon Heavy launch and there are four more planned for this year.What’s going to make this launch even more spectacular, as it’ll take place just a few minutes after sunset, we will see what’s called a jellyfish effect. Once in high altitude, the rocket’s gas plume will be illuminated by sunlight while it’s darker down on the ground. The launch window opens at 5 p.m Saturday.

Here in Central Florida, we have gotten used to the near-weekly launches of SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets from the Cape, but the Falcon Heavy is a different story and serves a different purpose.

With five million pounds of thrust, experts say the Heavy is the largest and most powerful rocket available – aside from NASA’s SLS big moon rocket that just had its first test mission.

“It has the ability to put satellites into orbit that pretty much no other rocket can come close to,” Platt said.

Essentially, the Heavy is three Falcon 9 boosters lined up next to each other and connected. And that makes it a much more complex rocket to launch and control.

“There are so many more engines. There’s so much more plumbing. But then there’s also more software, there’s different control algorithms that are used to make sure the rocket stays on track. So in some aspects, it’s probably more than three times more difficult,” Play said.

And one of those difficult aspects is also one of the most spectacular to watch when the two side boosters land vertically on Landing Zones One and Two just seconds apart.

The core booster will use all its fuel to carry the payload further out and that’s part of the reason why the Falcon Heavy is in a class by itself. Like the last mission in November, it’ll carry payloads for the U.S. Space Force into deep GEO orbit. This will be the fifth Falcon Heavy launch and there are four more planned for this year.

What’s going to make this launch even more spectacular, as it’ll take place just a few minutes after sunset, we will see what’s called a jellyfish effect.

Once in high altitude, the rocket’s gas plume will be illuminated by sunlight while it’s darker down on the ground.

The launch window opens at 5 p.m Saturday.

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