The two-and-a-half-hour launch window opens at 1:30 p.m. The weather is favorable, but with all launches, delays are a possibility, especially with a rocket as big and complex as the Falcon Heavy. If SpaceX scrubs the launch Tuesday, the company will try again on Wednesday.
In a call with reporters Monday afternoon, Musk said he was optimistic that the launch would happen as scheduled. But he said he was less sure that it'd be a success.
"The weather is looking good, the rocket is looking good," he said. "It's either going to be an exciting success or an exciting failure. One big boom."
In a surprising reversal, Musk said that the company most likely would not seek to fly humans on the Falcon Heavy, despite a pledge to fly a pair of tourists around the moon later this year. Instead, he said the company would focus on its next-generation rocket, known as the "BFR," or Big Falcon Rocket, since its development was coming along "faster than we thought," though he didn't give a timeline for when that rocket would launch.
Falcon Heavy launches to Mars orbit tomorrow. If it doesn’t explode into tiny pieces, it will carry Starman in Roadster over 400 million km from Earth at 11 km/sec on a billion year journey through deep space. Should it work, Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two and the highest payload launch vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket. Could do crewed missions to the moon and Mars with orbital refilling, but better to leave that to the BFR program.
In the months leading up to the Falcon Heavy's much-anticipated flight, Musk has sought to temper expectations, saying the chances of the rocket exploding are high. "I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest," he said last year. "Major pucker factor really."
"A failure is not what you want. Any kind of failure that SpaceX has as it gets closer to human launch starts to be a worry," she said. "When you swing big, you get a little bit of forgiveness on your misses. And SpaceX is swinging big."
In a cross-promotional stunt for one of Musk's other companies, the rocket will be carrying a Tesla Roadster that SpaceX intends to put into an orbit that could reach as far out as Mars. An animation of the launch shows the ruby red sports car with its convertible top down, and a spacesuit-wearing mannequin in the driver's seat as the car flies toward Mars.
On Monday, Musk said the car would be outfitted with three cameras that should be able to beam back "some epic views."
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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