SpaceX Falcon Heavy Mission Timeline (Countdown)
When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two, with the ability to lift more than twice the payload of the next vehicle, at one-third the cost. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit.
Three cores make up the first stage of Falcon Heavy. The side cores, or boosters, are connected to the center core at its base and at the vehicle’s interstage. With a total of 27 Merlin engines, Falcon Heavy’s three cores are capable of generating more than 5 million pounds of thrust.
For this test flight, Falcon Heavy’s two side cores are both flight-proven. One launched the Thaicom 8 satellite in May 2016 and the other supported the CRS-9 mission in July 2016. SpaceX will attempt to land all three of Falcon Heavy’s first stage cores during this test. Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side cores will attempt to land at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Falcon Heavy’s center core will attempt to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Here is an overview of the events leading up to the launch:
Hour:Min:Sec - Events
01:28:00 - SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
01:25:00 - RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
00:45:00 - LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
00:07:00 - Falcon Heavy begins engine chill prior to launch
00:01:00 - Flight computer commanded to begin final prelaunch checks
00:01:00 - Propellant tank pressurisation to flight pressure begins
00:00:45 - SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
00:00:05 - Engine controller commands side booster engine ignition sequence to start
00:00:03 - Engine controller commands center core engine ignition sequence to start
00:00:00 - Falcon Heavy liftoff
Watch live at www.spacex.com/webcast