CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Buzz Aldrin is in place to watch the Falcon Heavy rocket's first test launch this afternoon (Feb. 6) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the rocket will take flight from the same pad that launched Aldrin's unprecedented trip to the moon on Apollo 11.
SpaceX's first test launch of the heavy-lift rocket comes from Launch Complex 39A, the launchpad that hosted most of the Apollo mission launches (starting with the first test-flight of the Saturn V rocket, Apollo 4, in 1967) as well as several shuttle missions. In 2014, SpaceX leased the pad for its launches, and first launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the pad in 2017, landing the first-stage booster on a landing pad at Kennedy Space Center after launch.
Falcon Heavy boasts three Falcon 9 first stages, all of which it may attempt to land after the launch: the two side boosters on Kennedy Space Center landing zones and the center core on a floating barge. From his spot, Aldrin should have a clear view of the launch and most of the landing process for the first stages. If successful, the launch will boost a Tesla Roadster into an orbit that will intersect Mars', although the planet won't be there.
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Sarah Lewin started writing for Space.com in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.