The payload is SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s ‘modified’ cherry red Tesla Roaster sports car that will be hurled outward on a whimsical trip to Mars orbit. It will be playing David Bowie’s hit song ‘Space Oddity.’
The FAA issued the launch license on Feb. 2, 2018, and it only covers the maiden liftoff with Musk’s Tesla and for a period limited to 1 year from the date of issuance.
“The license terminates upon completion of the launch authorized by the license, or one (1) year from the effective date of this license order, whichever comes first.”
SpaceX CEO and billionaire founder Elon Musk revealed the targeted launch date publicly for the first time only last week.
“Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy,” Musk tweeted Saturday, Jan. 27 – even as his firm’s single stick Falcon 9 targeted blastoff on Wednesday, Jan 31 on nearby pad 40 on the Florida Space Coast.
Musk also announced today that a new Falcon Heavy launch simulation will be released soon, presumably prior to liftoff.
“Falcon Heavy launch simulation almost ready. Will be set to Bowie’s Life on Mars,” Musk tweeted.
The latest weather forecast at L- Minus 3 outlines very favorable conditions along the Florida Space Coast with an 80% chance of favorable conditions at launch time according to U.S. Air Force meteorologists with the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base.
The primary concerns on Feb. 6 are for liftoff winds and the Thick Cloud layer Rule.
“On Tuesday [Feb. 6], winds are expected to become easterly at 15 mph, again bringing a few low-level clouds in off the water. The main weather concerns are liftoff winds and thick clouds. Maximum upper-level winds will be from the west at 90 knots near 40,000 feet,” said the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron in the Feb. 3 weather update.
The 1st ever static fire test for the Falcon Heavy took place on Wednesday, Jan 24, at 12:30 p.m. EST and lasted about 10 seconds – as I watched from the Playalinda Beach causeway. Read our stories here.
The two side cores are ‘flight-proven’ boosters that already launched once and are being recycled for the Heavy.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses Falcon Heavy and rocketry during media briefing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
Read our detailed prelaunch and launch stories.
Cherry red Tesla sports car owned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is the payload on the inaugural test flight of his Falcon Heavy Rocket. The Tesla will be propelled to Mars on the rocket’s debut flight from KSC pad 39A in Feb 2018. Credit: SpaceX