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[UPDATE: Success!] Here’s Where to Watch SpaceX’s Historic Falcon Heavy Launch

UPDATE: SpaceX has done it! While at the time of this writing the fate of the Falcon Heavy core is unknown, everything else — the launch, the booster separation and landings, Starman’s first step on a grand space odyssey — went off more or less perfectly.

It’s a historic day for SpaceX, affordable spaceflight, and our next steps to space. Who knows, maybe Mass Effect is right, and this is a major footnote in the history of humanity becoming a multi-planet species. Regardless — given the blaring Bowie, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference, the cherry red supercar, the massive new rocket — today’s launch may have been the nerdiest thing we’ve ever done.

Today (or possibly tomorrow), Elon Musk and SpaceX are poised to make history. Either the largest and most powerful rocket in production will have a thunderous lift off in front of tens of thousands crowding the Kennedy Space center, or SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy will explode into a fireball of affordable spaceflight’s hopes and dreams.

Whatever happens, though, it’s going to be a hell of a show, and you can watch it live right here:

The promise of the Falcon Heavy (FH) is a big one. If successful, not only will the 27-engine rocket be the most powerful rocket flying, it will be the cheapest too. By re-landing all three boosters, as the FH plans to do and no other spaceflight system is currently capable of, the FH could dramatically reduce the cost of hauling large payloads up the gravity well. Each booster costs many millions of dollars, and up until now, government agencies have let them find a home at the bottom of the ocean, never to see the stars again.

“If we are successful in this,” Musk said on Monday during a press call, “it is game over for all the other heavy lift rockets.”

Expertly coordinating a 230-foot tall bomb’s “aerial ballet,” as Musk called it, is no small feat. Musk himself has repeatedly warned that the chances that the rocket simply explodes on the launch pad, or shortly after flight, is closer to 50/50 than anyone wants.

But if the FH does indeed escape our atmosphere, it will arguably be carrying the coolest payload since Luke’s lightsaber. Musk has committed his personal cherry red Tesla roadster as the mass at the top of the rocket, simulating the mass a mission would take to the Moon or Mars. Oh, and in it will be a dummy in a SpaceX space suit, blasting David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” As cool as deep space.

Using 5,000,000 pounds of thrust to send a Starman at 11 kilometers per second on a billion-year journey through deep space sounds frivolous, but it’s undeniable that Musk has done much to make spaceflight seem as cool as it really is — public engagement might be as valuable to space exploration as a new flight system. Launching a giant rocket is the ultimate show, so why not put one on?

Keep refreshing this page for coverage of the launch, and let us know in the comments below what has your 27 engines fired up about the launch.

Image: SpaceX


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