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SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch with Arabsat reset for Tuesday

By Paul Brinkmann
SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch with Arabsat reset for Tuesday
Two of the booster rockets return to to be reused after SpaceX launched its next-generation Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center last year. File Photo by SpaceX/UPI | License Photo

April 5 (UPI) -- SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch with the ArabSat 6A satellite aboard has been reset for Tuesday after a test fire was completed Friday, SpaceX has confirmed.

The launch window was previously 6:36 to 8:35 p.m. EDT Sunday, based on airspace closure warnings. A similar time is expected for the new date. Delays or postponements can happen because of weather, technical problems or other issues.

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Arabsat 6A is a communications satellite for the Riyahd, Saudi Arabia-based company of the same name. It is to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

The launch is expected to bring thousands of spectators to Florida's Space Coast to see what is currently the world's tallest and most powerful rocket. It's the first time a Block 5 booster will be used for the big rocket. It's also the Falcon Heavy's first commercial payload.

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The Block 5 booster is the latest-generation Falcon 9, intended to be reused several times. A Falcon Heavy is basically three Falcon 9's strapped together.

On the Falcon Heavy's maiden voyage into space in February 2018, also on a Tuesday, an estimated 100,000 visitors came to watch. That launch had the additional pizzazz of being the biggest rocket since the Saturn era ended in the 1970s. It was carrying Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster with the crash dummy Starman at the wheel.

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Two side boosters will attempt to fly back to twin landing pads at Kennedy Space Center.

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Development of the Falcon Heavy, like all of SpaceX's missions, has been described by SpaceX founder Elon Musk as a step toward his goal of sending people to Mars.

A launch on a Falcon Heavy carries a price tag of $90 million, compared to competitor United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy, which costs more than $300 million. Falcon Heavy is taller than the shuttle launch rocket was, but carries a little less thrust or power.

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