January 28, 2023

Where to watch, launch time

Here in Central Florida, we’re used to near-weekly launches of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets from the Cape, but the Falcon Heavy is a different story and serves a different purpose. The largest and most powerful rocket available – apart from NASA’s SLS Big Moon rocket which had its first test mission. “It has the ability to put satellites into orbit that no other rocket can come close to,” Platt said. The heavy is three Falcon 9 boosters lined up next to each other and connected. This makes it a much more complex missile to launch and control. “There’s a lot of engines. There’s a lot of plumbing. But there’s also more software, and there are different control algorithms that are used to make sure the missile stays on the right trajectory. So in some aspects, it’s probably three times more difficult,” Play said. And one of those tricky aspects is also one of the most exciting to watch when the two side boosters descend perpendicular to the first and second landing zones just seconds apart, and the primary booster will use all the fuel to carry the payload out and that’s part of the reason the Falcon Heavy is in a class on its own. Like the last mission in November, it will deliver payloads for the US Space Force into deep GEO orbit. This will be the fifth launch of the Falcon Heavy and there are four more plans for this year, what will make this launch more exciting, as it will happen just a few minutes after sunset, we will see the so-called jellyfish effect. Once at high altitude, the rocket’s gas plume will be brightened by sunlight while it is much darker on the ground. The launch window opens at 5:55 PM on Saturday.

Here in Central Florida, we’re used to almost 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 rocket is the largest and most powerful rocket available — aside from NASA’s SLS Big Moon rocket on its first test mission.

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

Basically, the heavy is three Falcon 9 boosters lined up next to each other and connected. This makes it a more complex missile to launch and control.

“There’s a lot of engines. There’s a lot of plumbing. But there’s also more software, and there are different control algorithms that are used to make sure the missile stays on the right trajectory. So in some aspects, it’s probably three times more difficult,” Play said.

And one of those tricky aspects is also one of the most exciting to watch when the two side boosters descend perpendicular to the first and second landing zones just seconds apart.

The primary booster will use all of its fuel to carry the payload out and that’s part of the reason the Falcon Heavy is in a class on its own. Like the last mission in November, it will deliver payloads for the US Space Force into deep GEO orbit. This will be the Falcon Heavy’s fifth launch and four more are planned for this year.

What will make this launch even more exciting, because it will happen just a few minutes after sunset, we will see the so-called jellyfish effect.

Once at high altitude, the rocket’s gas plume will be brightened by sunlight while it is much darker on the ground.

The launch window opens at 5:55 PM on Saturday.