Become a launch pro ahead of Falcon Heavy liftoff

Learn launch terms, technology every new space fan should know

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Falcon Heavy at Kennedy Space Center pad 39A before a static fire test.

SpaceX is set to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket on a test flight in February from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

To anyone who has never seen a launch or watched a countdown online before some of the language may sound strange. What's a fairing? Why do they say T minus? What does main engine cut off mean?

During the live countdown, mission control will discuss hardware, fueling and of course, liftoff. It's not rocket science -- well it is -- but after reading this breakdown of rocket hardware and launch terms, new space enthusiasts will be ready for the countdown to begin.

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