SpaceX releases close up images of Falcon Heavy's launch pad debut

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station lifts off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida last month

The Zuma mission bares similarities to two other launches in the past, PAN and CLIO, launched in 2009 and 2014 respectively.

SpaceX calls the Falcon Heavy "the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two".

Risks aside, if all goes well, the side cores will separate and return to the land-based Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and will likely land simultaneously and offer nearby Floridans a double dose of sonic booms as they slow down from speeds well above Mach 3. The company will be launching the spacecraft Zuma from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the home base of NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

And it's this rocket that is poised to take humans off Earth, out of low-Earth orbit, into the solar system.

Coverage of the launch can be seen on Space Coast Daily TV.

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SpaceX officially moved all of its Falcon 9 launches to the newly renovated LC-40 launch pad in order to free up the LC-39A for Falcon Heavy's first launch. Meanwhile, the center stage will throttle up and continue on as if it were a Falcon 9.

"The NRO made up its mind that SpaceX was OK to launch payloads", he said. The last time a rocket was capable of lifting more payload into space was in 1973 atop the Saturn V rocket that took astronauts to the moon. Musk has confirmed that its orbit will be extremely stable, and Roadster will likely remain in its final space journey for hundreds of millions or even billions of years. But don't get too excited just yet: SpaceX has a history of delays. The rocket was rolled out on December 28, 2017 and raised vertical on the launch pad.

The Kennedy Space Center lists January 2018 as the earliest possible slot for the launch.

The long-delayed inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy - the company said in April 2011 that the vehicle would be ready for a first launch in 2013 - is a demonstration mission without a paying customer.

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