CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (FOX 13) - The world’s most powerful rocket will have to wait at least another day for its second chance to fly. SpaceX called off Wednesday evening’s planned Falcon Heavy launch due to upper-level winds.
A Saudi Arabian communications satellite was scheduled to blast off as early as 6:35 p.m. in what would be the Falcon Heavy’s first operational mission. The rocket – the most powerful currently flying – famously hoisted a mannequin in a red roadster in its debut flight last year.
When it does launch, the Falcon Heavy will try to repeat its previous success. The rocket’s two side boosters will roar back to Cape Canaveral to land simultaneously just down the coast from the launch site, Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX issued a warning that Space Coast residents should expect several loud sonic booms as the rockets arrive back on Earth.
The center booster, meanwhile, will shoot for a landing on the company’s droneship out in the Atlantic – one of the few things that did not work out successfully during the first Falcon Heavy flight. That booster ran out of ignition fluid and couldn’t restart its engines for the final landing burn, instead plummeting into the sea.
SpaceX’s goal is to reuse as many of their rockets as possible to drive down launch costs. So far, 12 Falcon 9 boosters have returned to land safely, and 23 more have touched down on droneships.
Assuming these boosters survive, they’ll be reused on the Falcon Heavy’s next planned launch, the STP-2 mission for the U.S. Air Force, tentatively scheduled for June.
PHOTOS: 'Falcon Heavy' thunders to space
This second flight has already experienced a series of delays, most recently a slip due in part to this week’s storms. But thousands of people took their chances to see the rocket show; area hotels were booked up and popular viewing spots were full more than three hours before the launch window opened.
SpaceX is expected to try again in a day or two; the weather forecast is generally good during that stretch.