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How to watch SpaceX launch mighty Falcon Heavy on Friday

ViaSat-3 Americas Mission

SpaceX is making final preparations for today’s launch of the Falcon Heavy, one of the most powerful rockets in operation.

The commercial spaceflight company is currently targeting  7:29 p.m. ET on Friday, April 28, for the launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission will deploy the ViaSat 3 Americas broadband communications satellite, the first of at least three new-generation Boeing-built geostationary satellites for California-based ViaSat.

A small communications satellite called Arcturus will be deployed as a secondary payload for Astranis Space Technologies, a communications satellite operator also based in California.

The Falcon Heavy comprises three Falcon 9 boosters, the workhorse reusable vehicle that SpaceX uses to carry astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station, as well as carry satellites into orbit.

SpaceX recently tweeted a couple of images showing the rocket ahead of launch. The first shows all 27 of the Merlin engines that will power the Falcon Heavy to space.

Falcon Heavy in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 11, 2023

The Falcon Heavy has achieved five successful missions since its first one in 2018, when it sent a Tesla Roadster belonging to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk into orbit. Its most recent flight was in January, when it deployed two satellites for the U.S. Space Force.

Packing more than 5 million pounds of thrust at launch, the Falcon Heavy is a powerful machine. However, it can’t match the might of the SpaceX Starship rocket, which creates around 17 million pounds of thrust. SpaceX recently tested the Starship, which comprises the first-stage Super Heavy booster and upper-stage Starship spacecraft, but the maiden flight ended abruptly when the rocket exploded minutes after launch.

How to watch

SpaceX is targeting 7:29 p.m. ET on Friday, April 28, for the Falcon Heavy’s launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

You can watch a live stream of the early stages of the mission via the player at the top of this page or by visiting SpaceX’s YouTube channel.

The flight will allow viewers to witness the awesome sight of 27 Merlin engines blasting the rocket skyward, as well as the spectacular landing of at least two of the boosters a short while later.

This mission has been rescheduled a number of times for various reasons, so be sure to check SpaceX’s Twitter account for any last-minute changes to the launch plan.

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Trevor Mogg
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