SpaceX’s historic first Falcon Heavy flight will be immediately followed by a historic first landing attempt, too. The commercial space company headed by Elon Musk confirmed over the weekend that the test launch will also include an attempt to recover the three booster cores used by the rocket to propel it to orbit (via Space.com).
The two cores on either side of the rocket will return to LZ-1 and LZ-2, the land-based landing sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and the one in the center will try to land back on “Of Course I Still Love You,” the autonomous drone barge that SpaceX uses as a floating landing pad out in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy uses the equivalent of three Falcon 9 rockets in terms of engine power, providing a total max cargo capacity of around 120,000 lbs. It’s aiming to take off for the first time from Cape Canaveral in Florida (where a TechCrunch team is on the ground currently to report the launch).
Trying to land all three boosters during the launch is a fittingly audacious capper to this ambitious launch, which will set the stage for SpaceX’s crewed orbital missions, and its plan to establish an orbital launch zone from which to then travel on to Mars, where it hopes to one day establish a base, eventually, maybe even a human colony.
The Falcon Heavy launch is currently set for 1:30 PM EST on Tuesday, February 6, and so far, everything looks go for launch.