Posted byDarrell Etherington
SpaceX is launching its Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and if it’s successful, it’ll be twice as powerful in terms of cargo capacity as its next closest active rival. That will help give SpaceX an edge in the growing private space race, and open up new opportunities in terms of potential clients, as well as set the stage for traveling to Mars.
The launch itself is happening on Tuesday, February 6 at 1:30 PM EST, weather permitting. The window lasts until 4 PM EST, however, so if conditions are good within that time the lunch should go off as planned. There’s a backup window on February 7, which also starts at 1:30 PM EST, and we’ll be there live to watch it happen and report back all the news right here on TechCrunch.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy set up at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, with a cherry red Model 3 in the foreground.
TechCrunch video producer Veanne Cao frames up the Falcon Heavy at one of our first footage stops.
The full Falcon Heavy rocket from front on, with the logo clearly visible on the top faring.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket with the visible support and service scaffolding nearby.
The SpaceX launch facility near the LC-39A pad from which Falcon Heavy will launch.
This is the Falcon Heavy viewer form the back angle, where it was hauled in on huge heavy sleds.
The base of the Falcon Heavy from the rear, with the support strut visible.
The Falcon Heavy with the SpaceX water tower in near proximity.
The nose cone of the Falcon Heavy and its outer boosters.
A full view of the Falcon Heavy on the launch support from the rear.
The Falcon Heavy, SpaceX water tower and broad view of the launch facility with the changing sky.
Side boosters have grid fins for redirecting the Heavy Falcon side boosters back to Earth.
At the top of Falcon Heavy.
The SpaceX name is prominently displayed on the bottom of each of Falcon Heavy’s three boosters.
The Falcon Heavy takes off from a concrete bridge of sorts covering over an exhaust escape gap.
Falcon Heavy’s all set up as it catches the afternoon light amid Cape Canaveral’s brackish swampland.
This colorful optical phenomenon is called a Sundog, caused under ice crystals in the atmosphere and appearing 22 degrees away from the sun. (At night, they’re Moondogs.)
Darrell Etherington taking a photo of the Falcon Heavy at one of the media sites.
This is in place to help stabilize the rocket pre-launch, and it will pull back before the rocket takes off.
Kennedy Space Center hosts famous and impressive Vehicle Assembly Building, but if you know where to look, you can see signs that it’s all been around for quite a while. I’m not sure whether this next is real or artificial but one thing I do know is there were a LOT of vultures around there.
Unfortunately we don’t have a cool little house to put our cameras in, so we had to shoot in the limited time we had and then jump back on the bus.
These are a few of the huge lights that keep the rocket lit for dramatic effect at night. It looks like they’re crooked but that’s the way they’re mounted.
There were tons of remote cameras, which will be set off by (probably) the sound of the launch. You have to protect them from the elements, of course (it was rainy this week on the Florida coast) — but really some of these just have trash bags wrapped in gaff tape for rain jackets.
Pros know you have to get lots of different angles for important things like rocket launches. That’s why Matt went one step the right and Darrell went one step to the left.
This official camera (if the label is to be trusted) was located at one of the remote camera sites we stopped at. (SpaceX phone number on bottom part of tape clonestamped out.)
This remote camera setup area had two good spots to shoot from, the better of which was already occupied by this shielded SpaceX camera. It was sitting RIGHT on top of a fire ant nest, though.
The “Vehicle Assembly Building” or VAB at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is a staging area where rockets area assembled before rolling out to their launch pads.