If you're a space fan visiting Florida's Space Coast this week, then you have a chance to see something special: one of the reusable boosters that launched SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket into space.
The booster is one of two side-mounted Falcon 9 rockets that helped launch the Falcon Heavy on its debut flight on Feb. 6. It's on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photographer Michael Seeley of We Report Space took this photo of the booster at the space museum.
It was at KSC's historic Launch Pad 39A that SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket and its unique payload: a Tesla Roadster (owned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk) and a spacesuit-clad mannequin dubbed Starman. The two side boosters separated from the Falcon Heavy's center core and returned to Earth, making dual landings on SpaceX pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. [Watch Starman's Entire Deep-Space Ride in 80 Seconds]
The Falcon Heavy booster can be seen near the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit and Shuttle Launch Experience at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. (Note: The Atlantis and Shuttle Launch Experience exhibits are closed today, Feb. 20.) SpaceX's booster display comes as Vice President Mike Pence heads to KSC for the second meeting of the National Space Council. [SpaceX's 1st Falcon Heavy Rocket Test Flight in Pictures]
Pence will arrive at the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC today. He will oversee the National Space Council meeting on Wednesday (Feb. 21) at KSC's Space Station Processing Facility. The meeting, titled "Moon, Mars and Worlds Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier," will include "testimonials from leaders in the civil, commercial, and national security sectors about the importance of the United States' space enterprise," according to a NASA statement. The first meeting of the National Space Council occurred on Oct. 5.
Pence will conclude the meeting with a tour of KSC, NASA officials said.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.