Launch window and location:

SpaceX is currently targeting NET April 7th from 6:36 PM - 8:35 PM EDT / 2236 - 0035 UTC. Arabsat-6A will be launching from Kennedy Space Center, LC-39A atop a Falcon Heavy rocket.

The static fire test of Falcon Heavy is currently targeting March 31st. We highly encourage those planning on traveling here for the launch to wait until after the static firing before booking anything!

 

Weather forecast:

The 45th Space Wing typically begins releasing weather updates 3-4 days prior to the target date.


Booster landing:

There will be two, simultaneous RTLS (Return To Launch Site) booster landings at LZ-1 and LZ-2, followed by an ASDS (Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship) booster landing on OCISLY.


Where to watch:

Our launch viewing guide should be complete by the end of March. But in the meantime, check out these great launch viewing guides:

Our recommendations for this launch:

  • Playalinda Beach will give you the closest possible views (for the public) of the launch at around 3 miles from the launch pad, but has a limited capacity and is insanely popular for large launches from LC-39A like Falcon Heavy. If you plan on viewing here be prepared to camp out well before the beach opens its gates to increase your chances of getting in!

  • KSC Apollo/Saturn V Center can only be viewed from if you’ve purchased Kennedy Space Center’s expensive Feel the Heat package, but will give you some great views of the launch at 3.9 miles from the pad and includes some great extras; such as astronaut guest speakers, food/drinks, and a live countdown broadcast. These tickets sell out fast!

  • Max Brewer Bridge is your next best bet to get a good view of the launch if you’re unable to camp out hours before the beach opens and can’t get your hands on some Feel the Heat tickets. Located about 11 miles from the pad, you can get some relatively unobstructed views of the launch by going up to the top of the bridge. Though there is a lot of room, plan on getting there a few hours early because Falcon Heavy launches bring in some massive crowds!

  • Jetty Park is only 6 miles from LZ-1 and LZ-2, making it the absolute best place to be to experience the simultaneous booster landings. Though it won’t offer the best view of the launch with the pad being over 14 miles away and line of sight being blocked by mangroves and trees.

  • State Road 401 is also 6 miles from LZ-1 and LZ-2, making it another decent option if you’re more interested in seeing the RTLS booster landings. The view of launch is slightly better here than at Jetty Park, with it being a mile closer to the pad and having a less obstructed line of sight.

Kennedy Space Center launch viewing tickets can be purchased here.
KSC’s Feel the Heat package is AVAILABLE but will sell out fast!

Playalinda Beach should be open for this launch, but may close over 30 minutes prior to the end of the window.

Graphic from Everyday Astronaut.

Graphic from Everyday Astronaut.


watch live online:

The SpaceX livestream typically begins 15 minutes prior to launch. At this point we aren’t sure if NASA TV will be covering this launch.

  • SpaceX Livestream (will be updated with link when available)


launch hazard and airspace closure area:

Will be released by the 45th Space Wing as we get closer to launch.


About Falcon heavy:

Falcon Heavy render from SpaceX

Falcon Heavy render from SpaceX

“Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb) — a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel — Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.

Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.

Each of Falcon Heavy’s side cores, or boosters, is equivalent to the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket with nine Merlin engines. At liftoff, the boosters and the center core all operate at full thrust. Shortly after liftoff, the center core engines are throttled down. After the side cores separate, the center core engines throttle back up.

Inside each of Falcon Heavy’s three cores is a cluster of nine Merlin engines. These same engines power Falcon 9, enabling efficiencies that make Falcon Heavy the most cost-effective heavy-lift launch vehicle in the world. With a total of 27 first-stage engines, Falcon Heavy has engine-out capability that no other launch vehicle can match—under most payload scenarios, it can sustain more than one unplanned engine shutdown at any point in flight and still successfully complete its mission.

Three cores make up the first stage of Falcon Heavy. The side cores, or boosters, are connected  at the base and at the top of the center core’s liquid oxygen tank. The three cores, with a total of 27 Merlin engines, generate 22,819 kilonewtons (5.13 million pounds) of thrust at liftoff. Shortly after liftoff the center core engines are throttled down. After the side cores separate, the center core engines throttle back up to full thrust.

Falcon Heavy draws upon Falcon 9’s proven design, which minimizes stage separation events and maximizes reliability. The second-stage Merlin engine, identical to its counterpart on Falcon 9, delivers the rocket’s payload to orbit after the main engines cut off and the first-stage cores separate. The engine can be restarted multiple times to place payloads into a variety of orbits including low Earth, geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and geosynchronous orbit (GSO).

Falcon Heavy missions will deliver large payloads to orbit inside a composite fairing, but the rocket can also carry the Dragon spacecraft.”

(from SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy graphic from SpaceX.

Falcon Heavy graphic from SpaceX.


About Arabsat-6A:

Arabsat-6A is a communications satellite operated by the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat). Arabsat-6A is one of the most advanced commercial communications satellites ever created by Lockheed Martin and will provide internet, TV, telephone, and other secure communications to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa after being placed in geostationary orbit.

Image of Arabsat-6A from Lockheed Martin.

Image of Arabsat-6A from Lockheed Martin.



Launch360 updates:

  • The Launch360 crew will be unable to answer any questions on launch day due to low connectivity at the viewing site.

  • We’ve been working hard to complete our launch viewing guide and should hopefully have it up by the end of March!

  • Like and follow our social media for future spaceflight updates and launch VR experiences!


Disclaimer:

Launch360 is NOT responsible for the development and/or launching of these spacecraft and have no control over launch dates, times, or frequency. Launch dates/times are always subject to change!