SpaceX sets historic first Falcon Heavy launch for February 6

SpaceX has set February 6 as the target for its Falcon Heavy launch, the first ever test flight of the new, high-capacity rocket that the company is building to allow it to send nearly three times as much payload per mission into orbit.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted the target date on Saturday, adding that there will be plenty of viewing opportunity for the public from the nearby causeway. The launch will take place from launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, which SpaceX has refurbished and modified for its big rocket – and which previously played host to the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs for NASA.

The February 6 date was rumored late this past week, and SpaceX had previously said they were aiming to have the launch take place roughly a week after their successful static test fire of the rocket, which took place on January 24. But Musk’s confirmation gives us something to look forward to that’s far more specific.

SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy flight will be about testing it in real-world flight. The company has done a lot of preparation and simulation, but you can’t know how a rocket’s going to behave in the air until it actually launches. Musk has previously suggested this could end with the rocket exploding post-launch and pre-orbit, but that would still be a major step forward for SpaceX’s heavy booster.

The cargo on board for this mission is a cherry red original model Tesla Roadster – and if things go very well, it’ll be put into a long looping Mars orbit, a nod to everything Musk’s ventures have accomplished thus far, and also what they hope to achieve in the future.