SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch set for 6:36 p.m. EDT

Generating more than five million pounds of thrust at liftoff, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world. The launch has already been delayed and had been originally anticipated for earlier this week.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch, which has been delayed twice this week, is set for Wednesday evening in Cape Canaveral, Fla., another potential milestone for the company and the USA commercial space industry.

SpaceX will also attempt landings for all three of the rocket's boosters after the launch.

According to SpaceX, the forecast for today showed just a slight chance that the rocket would be able to take off as planned, with only a 30 percent likelihood of favorable conditions.

Falcon Heavy is a modified version of SpaceX's standard Falcon 9 rocket, essentially made up of three Falcon 9's strapped together, albeit with a reinforced center core.

But more importantly, the launch will mark the second ever flight of the incredible Falcon Heavy launch system.

This time around SpaceX has a paying customer to please.

Falcon Heavy's actual payload tomorrow is the Saudi Arabian Arabsat-6A communications satellite, weighing a little over 13,000 pounds.

As with all SpaceX launches, this will be a livestreamed event. The center core will land on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean. We'll see if they have better luck this time around. The launch window opens at 6:35am EDT.

Development of the Falcon Heavy, like all of SpaceX's missions, has been described by SpaceX founder Elon Musk as a step toward his goal of sending people to Mars.

After liftoff and separation, Falcon Heavy's three first-stage boosters will return to Earth for landing.

Falcon Heavy's most immediate and tangible impact has been with national security missions. The first retrieval didn't go so well for the poor old core booster, which missed the landing and plunged into the ocean.

Falcon Heavy's debut flight a year ago attracted massive attention, in part because CEO Elon Musk chose to launch his own luxury Tesla Roadsteras the test payload. The side boosters will touch down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at SpaceX Landing Zones 1 and 2.

The satellite SpaceX will launch on Wednesday will update satellite coverage for Arabsat, which is based in Riyadh and delivers hundreds of television channels and radio stations to homes across the Middle East and North Africa.

In a departure from past designs, the satellite features thin, flexible solar arrays instead of the rigid panels used on other spacecraft.

  • Joe Gonzales