Future Tense

Watch SpaceX’s Test Launch of the Falcon Heavy Rocket

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch video
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket to be launched in 45 years.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

SpaceX is testing its Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful to launch in 45 years, on Tuesday from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon Heavy is constructed from the cores of three Falcon 9’s, a two-stage rocket designed to deliver satellites and spacecraft into orbit.

The success of today’s Falcon Heavy launch would be big for the aerospace industry, since it has the capacity to transport heavier objects into space than the Falcon 9 can. As The Verge points out, NASA could eventually use a functioning Falcon Heavy to send cargo, habitat modules, and people to the moon; it might even come in handy for missions to Mars. However, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the launch has a 50-50 chance of success, largely due to uncertainties around the interactions between the boosters.

The rocket is scheduled to launch at 3:45 pm EST after being delayed for a few hours because of weather conditions. You can watch a live stream of the launch here:

This post was updated when the launch was delayed until 3:45 p.m.

One more thing

You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.

Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.

Join Slate Plus