SpaceX to Launch Falcon Heavy on February 6

If you have space-obsessed friends, you might have heard the name “Falcon Heavy” used a lot lately.

Falcon Heavy is a brand new rocket that’s set to launch for the first time ever on February 6, SpaceX announced on Saturday.

The buzz can be attributed to the Falcon Heavy’s size: It will be the most powerful rocket in the world. It’s built by SpaceX — the industry-disrupting rocket maker started by billionaire Elon Musk.

If you’re just catching up to the action, we’ve answered all the questions you need to know before next month’s launch.

Why does it matter?

The Falcon Heavy will become part of spaceflight history.

SpaceX has said the rocket will be capable of sending humans to Mars (though SpaceX has plans to build a different rocket/spaceship system for Mars travel, called the BFR).

It’ll also be the most powerful rocket currently in operation — and the second-most powerful rocket ever built. The most powerful rocket in history was NASA’s Saturn V rocket, which was used for the Apollo moon landings and was retired in the 1970s.

The more thrust a rocket has, the farther it can travel and the bigger the payload — be it a satellite or spacecraft — it can send into orbit.

That opens up a whole new range of business opportunities for SpaceX, which has been leading a new era of spaceflight in which commercial companies — not just governments — are driving the industry forward.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jackie Wattles