How to watch SpaceX’s most difficult Falcon Heavy launch ever

SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a payload of satellites Monday evening. NASA will livestream the whole event starting at 11 p.m. PT after SpaceX delayed its launch by three hours.

This new launch is SpaceX’s first for the U.S. Department of Defense and will be challenging because it will involve four separate upper-stage engine burns in addition to three separate deployment orbits.

The entire launch procedure is expected to take about six hours. Add to this the fact that this will be the Heavy’s first nighttime launch and it’s no wonder Elon Musk tweeted that this will be SpaceX’s “most difficult launch ever.”

SpaceX delayed its launch, originally scheduled to start around 8:30 p.m. PT, to 11:30 p.m. PT so it could conduct additional ground system checkouts.

“Vehicle and payload continue to look good,” SpaceX tweeted earlier Monday evening.

The Falcon Heavy is a larger version of SpaceX’s frequently-used Falcon 9 rocket, designed to carry more equipment. It has the highest capacity in terms of payload of any rocket launch vehicle currently in use. Along with the main body of the rocket, the Heavy has two strap-on boosters which have successfully returned to Earth during flights, albeit not without incident: SpaceX lost the central core booster of its rocket after in fell into the ocean in April.

At the first launch of the Falcon Heavy during its test flight in February 2018, Musk was visibly emotional, saying the launch taught him that “crazy things can come true.” He confided that he had been harboring doubts about the launch, but seeing the successful test flight gave him “a lot of confidence” in the advancements SpaceX could make. This flight succeeded in delivering its dummy payload of a Tesla Roadster into space. Since then, a second test flight in April succeeded in delivering Arabsat satellites into orbit.

Monday’s mission is codenamed STP-2, which stands for Space Test Program 2, and will carry a payload of equipment including 24 satellites into orbit. Among the satellites will be a set of small Cubesats, including the E-TBEx which measures radio signals, the Launch Environment Observer (LEO) and StangSatthermal, which measure thermal and vibration environments, and the LightSail 2, which will test the feasibility of solar sail technology promoted by Bill Nye.

The stats on the launch are impressive, with the Falcon Heavy carrying 27 Merlin engines which together will produce more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. SpaceX says that’s equivalent to around eighteen 747 aircraft. The total weight of the craft is more than 3 million lbs., or 1.4 million kg., and can lift 141,000 lbs. or 640,000 kg.

The launch is scheduled for Monday, June 24 at 11:30 p.m. PT, but is dependent on weather conditions. You can watch NASA’s livestream of the launch above, with coverage starting at 11 p.m. PT.

Updated with information about launch delay.

Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff! Here are all the moon missions happening in the next decade

The next 10 years are poised to be the most significant in lunar history in decades. What do we have to look forward to? Check out this handy guide to the coming decade of moon missions.
Emerging Tech

Three new astronauts join the International Space Station crew for Expedition 60

Exactly fifty years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, a new team of astronauts from NASA, Roscosmos, and ESA have arrived at the International Space Station to begin their stay there.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starship can land on the moon by 2021

SpaceX boss Elon Musk said recently that he believes its Starship spacecraft can land on the moon by 2021, adding that he hopes his company can help to build a "permanently occupied lunar base" there.

SpaceX’s Starhopper rocket bursts into flames during tests

SpaceX ran into trouble Tuesday evening when a small fire erupted from the engine of a prototype rocket it was testing at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. It's not clear if the fire caused any damage to the rocket itself
Emerging Tech

From the moon to mass production: 10 pieces of modern tech indebted to Apollo

This article is part of Apollo: A Lunar Legacy, a multi-part series that explores the technological advances behind Apollo 11, their influence on modern day, and what's next for the moon. You may have heard that freeze-dried food was…

50 years later, the first camera on the moon is still collecting lunar dust

The cameras aboard Apollo 11 captured some of history's most iconic images, including shots of Earth and footprints on the lunar surface. To commemorate the first moon landing, we look back at how Hasselblad's stripped shooters came to be.

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Wearable chargers and A.I.-enhanced keyboards

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 rover enters its final year of engineering before launch

The countdown has begun for the last year of development before the Mars 2020 launches between July 17, 2020 and August 5, 2020. Progress on finalizing the rover is right on track, according to NASA.
Emerging Tech

Could Mars’ now-barren Gale Crater lake have once supported life?

The Gale Crater is the site of an ancient lake which existed for millions of years. But even after the lake disappeared, groundwater could have remained for billions of years. Now, a team of scientists is searching for clues of life there.
Emerging Tech

Practically perfect in every way: Hubble shows galaxy with amazing symmetry

This week's Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 2985, located over 70 million light-years away. Hubble scientists describe NGC 2985 as having near-perfect symmetry, showing tightly wound spiral arms which converge in the center.
Emerging Tech

Harvard University has a bold new plan to make Mars livable for humans

Want to live on Mars? Harvard researchers have a bold new way to make it happen. Their plan involves covering portions of Mars with an insulating aerogel. Here's why it could work.
Emerging Tech

China’s space station, Tiangong-2, has burned up in the atmosphere

China's space station, Tiangong-2, has burned up in the Earth's atmosphere as part of a planned deorbit. It was originally scheduled to be in space for two or three years, but it survived longer than expected and spent 1,000 days in space.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Artemis capsule is complete, will carry the first woman to the moon

The crew capsule which will carry American astronauts to the moon as part of the Artemis project has been completed. The completion of the Artemis 1 capsule was announced by Vice President Mike Pence.
Emerging Tech

How re-engineering an old technology could give us EVs with 700 miles of range

Battery supply has been a critical limiting factor in electric vehicle adoption. Now Portland-based XNRGI has developed a battery based on old silicon wafer technology, and it could revolutionize the battery industry.