Third Falcon Heavy launch targeted on the Space Coast

First night launch, military mission for SpaceX's most powerful rocket

By James Sparvero - Reporter

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - The third launch of the most powerful rocket in the world is quickly approaching. 

SpaceX is targeting 11:30 p.m. Monday for the first night launch for Falcon Heavy. The mission will be Falcon Heavy's first for the military.

The Air Force said Falcon Heavy is the only rocket capable of deploying its 24 satellites into three different orbits.

If successful, Falcon Heavy could be on its way to being certified by the military for flying national security missions.

"So this is really a test launch," Dr. Ken Kremer, research scientist with SpaceUpClose.com, said about the mission.

Monday will also be the first Falcon Heavy launch to reuse the three-core rocket's side boosters.

Those same boosters landed simultaneously on the ground at Cape Canaveral during Falcon Heavy's second launch April 11.

Since then, a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule explosion during ground testing contaminated the same landing zone.

The Air Force said that two months later, the landing zone is safe to use again and the side boosters will again attempt a ground landing.

"They said the pad would be clear by that time of all debris and all contaminants," Kremer said.

Wednesday night, SpaceX was expected to test fire Falcon Heavy's 27 engines. A successful test firing must be conducted before a go is given for the launch.

Unlike the first two Falcon Heavy launches, this time, the Canaveral National Seashore will not be open to the public.

That's because the popular launch viewing area closes every day hours before the expected late night liftoff.

Watch the launch live on News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, and if SpaceX changes the launch schedule, we will let you know about that, too.

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