SpaceX postponed key Falcon Heavy launch to Thursday
Falcon Heavy rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Feb. 6, 2018. Image: SpaceX
SpaceX cancelled the launch of its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday evening due to strong upper level winds.
Driving the news: The next chance for launch is Thursday, depending on weather.
Why it matters: The launch will be the first time this rocket, which is the most powerful operational rocket on the market right now, will be used to launch a payload for a customer. SpaceX tested the rocket last February, along with simultaneous booster landings in Florida, to carry a red Tesla roadster into deep space.
Details: Falcon Heavy’s 27 Merlin engines generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, SpaceX said on Wednesday.
- The rocket is essentially the combination of 3 Falcon 9 rocket cores.
- It can loft more than 140,000 pounds of cargo into low Earth orbit, beating the capabilities of the United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy by about 77,000 pounds.
- The cargo for the launch is known as Arabsat-6A, which is a communications satellite for Saudi Arabia.
Between the lines: When the Falcon Heavy debuted, it lacked a long list of launch customers, unlike the Falcon 9, which has become a common sight in the skies around Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
- A successful launch could generate more interest, although the company has existing orders now from the Air Force, Inmarsat and the global communications company company Viasat.