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Weather may halt Tuesday launch

The weather forecast continues to look less than favorable for the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on its first operational mission Tuesday, according to the Air Force.

Conditions are only 30 percent “go” for the 6:36 p.m. launch from Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A with the Arabsat 6A commercial communications satellite. Teams can, however, try to wait out the weather until the window closes at 8:35 p.m.

“The primary weather concerns are disturbed weather, anvil cloud, cumulus cloud and lightning rules,” forecasters with the 45th Weather Squadron said Sunday.

In the event of a delay to Wednesday, the forecast improves to 80 percent “go.”

After liftoff, the rocket’s three cores will all target landings – the two side boosters will autonomously return to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, while the center core will fire slightly longer and then land on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The dual landings will likely be the only ones visible from the Space Coast, but the center core will return to Port Canaveral for processing a few days later.

Tuesday’s launch attempt will mark Falcon Heavy’s first operational flight since February 2018’s demonstration launch that vaulted a Tesla Roadster and “Starman” mannequin to deep space. They’re expected to coast through the solar system for millions of years.

More: Remember Starman and the Tesla Roadster launched into space? They’re now beyond Mars, SpaceX says

More: Fare thee well, ‘Starman’! Thanks for all these awesome images of you and your red Tesla in space

 

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