Thousands of people are expected to gather to see the second launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy, which will likely happen this Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center.
Kennedy Space Center officials are expecting heavy traffic and parking issues near the Visitor Complex and at the launch viewing locations.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Second Launch
On Feb. 6, 2018, Falcon Heavy marked its first launch from the Cape Canaveral with the aid of 27 Merlin engines that powered the triple-booster rocket. Over 100,000 visitors flocked to Brevard County to see the launch and the return of its side boosters to the earth's surface afterward.
However, unlike last year's launch, which was simply a demonstration showing off that SpaceX could pull off the heavy-lift vehicle into space, this year's send-off now includes a payload from a client. The company is planning to send up Saudi Arabia's Arabsat 6A from Pad 39A. Once the communication satellite is launched into space, it will expand Saudi Arabia's communication coverage in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Several powerful rockets were launched from Complex 39A, including Saturn V with the crew of Apollo 11 and later, flights of the Space Shuttle program. Because the previous rockets were test-fired elsewhere, it is the first time Cape Canaveral holds a rocket launch as powerful as Falcon Heavy. SpaceX compares its power to that of 18 Boeing 747s simultaneously taking off.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, claims it is the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two compared to the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy. The Delta IV Heavy can generate up to 2.13 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, and it means Falcon Heavy can carry twice that payload.
Heavy Traffic Expected Over The Weekend
SpaceX is targeting Falcon Heavy to lift off on April 7 between 6:36 p.m. and 8:35 p.m. The officers of Kennedy Space Center Protective Services will be enforcing restricted access around the launch area.
Ahead of the scheduled launch, some roadways will be closed and others are restricted to ticket holders. The Max Brewer Memorial Parkway will be closed to all traffic. The State Road 3 at U.S. 1 between Volusia County and Playalinda Beach will remain open until full capacity or 5:30 p.m.
The roads mentioned below are only accessible for the launch ticket holders and authorized personnel:
- NASA Causeway between U.S.1 and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Center
- State Road 3 north of the media pass building
- Identification Building to NASA Causeway, including Space Commerce Way