SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch: What you need to know

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 10:59 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 3:42 PM

Florida’s Space Coast is owning up to its nickname as research and launch activity ramps up. 

Feb. 6 was a historic day with the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

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The rocket successfully blasted off at 3:45 p.m., rescheduled from 2:20 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. due to winds. The boosters successfully landed simultaneously after the rocket launch.

It launched from 39A, the same pad used for the Apollo missions. SpaceX’s pad was damaged in September 2016 when a rocket exploded. 

The Falcon Heavy rocket was a test launch, costing around $90 million. The heavy lift vehicle can place about 68.3 metric tons in low Earth orbit. The most a rocket has carried to orbit was the Saturn V at about 118 metric tons, used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and the Skylab space station in the 1970s. The most recent version of a single Falcon 9 rocket can lift 13.2 tons. 

“If this is successful, this is once again SpaceX disrupting the marketplace and that's a good thing,” Dale Ketcham with Space Florida said before the launch. 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has played down expectations for the launch publicly, saying this is a brand new vehicle with 27 engines having to work in sync. 

Large crowds were expected for the launch.

“We expect upwards of 100,000 people will come to the community just to see the launch, and that's on top of the people that are already here, including our seasonal guests, so it's going to be a huge crowd,” Eric Garvey of the Space Coast Office of Tourism said before the Tuesday launch.

Here are the main things to know about the Falcon Heavy liftoff: 

  • It is essentially three rockets bolted together to make the heavy vehicle.

  • It is a test flight.

  • The middle booster will carry Elon Musk’s own Red Tesla Roadster.

  • The Roadster is planned be near Mars’ orbit in a precision Earth Mars elliptical orbit around the sun. 

  • The mission will try to prove that it is possible to put payloads into an orbit intersecting Mars. This would help in the mission planned to put humans in Mars.

  • Musk presented this project in 2011 and he planned to roll out the heavy rocket in Southern California in late 2012. He hoped for a launch at some point in 2013 -- it was obviously delayed.

  • The rockets were put in position in pad 39A and tested in December 2017.

  • Falcon Heavy rockets cost a fraction of the price of the future Space Launch System rockets, which are planned to have more lift and throw a spacecraft further into space, to Jupiter and beyond. They will probably not be ready until the mid-2020s.

  • Each rocket has nine engines, making it 27 engines in total that need to ignite in tandem.

  • The two side rockets will jettison from the center rocket two and a half minutes after liftoff.

  • The center booster will continue for a bit longer before engines are shut off.

  • All three rockets are planned to land back on Earth; two back at the Cape and the heavier rocket at the Atlantic (barge) platform called “Of course, I still love you.”

  • There is a good chance that this launch may fail.

  • Falcon Heavy weighs more than 3.1 million pounds (loaded with kerosene and liquid oxygen) and it's about 229 feet tall.

  • If successful, there will be more heavy launches during the first half of 2018 from Cape Canaveral, too.

  • Central Florida residents, especially those near the coast -- but as far away as metro Orlando -- may hear a sonic boom.

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Alleged Florida high school shooter has $800,000 inheritance, reports say

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 5:23 PM

Reportedly Alleged Florida High School Shooter Has $800,000 Inheritance

The alleged gunman in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last week in Parkland, Fla., has an inheritance from his adoptive parents worth $800,000, according to news outlets.

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But Nikolas Cruz, 19, who now has a public defender at taxpayer expense as his attorney in his murder case, cannot access the money until he turns 22, the Miami Herald reported.

Cruz was charged with 17 counts of murder last Thursday, a day after allegedly opening fire inside the high school with an assault-style rifle.

>> Related:Hundreds of students walk out in mass protest, march to Parkland high school

The large amount of money could prompt a judge to review the estate and possibly make the money accessible for Cruz’s defense.

Who Is Nicolas De Jesus Cruz, Alleged Gunman In Florida School Shooting?

The Public Defender’s Office asked a judge Tuesday to review the inheritance, the Herald reported,  to help determine if any of the money can be used in his defense.

The court filing specifically asked the judge to “determine whether the defendant is indigent.”

>> Related: Parkland students march at Capitol calling for tighter gun control laws

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder in the deaths of 14 students and three adults, including teachers, in the deadly rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. More than a dozen others were injured in the massacre.

Cruz was caught shortly after the shooting in nearby Coral Springs, Fla., and taken into custody without incident.

He’s jailed without bond.

>> Related: Dallas Mayor pro tem tells NRA it can hold annual convention someplace else

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Marco Rubio faces a tough crowd during CNN's town hall for gun reform

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 12:01 AM

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky asks a question to Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Rubio was put on the defensive Wednesday by angry students, teachers and parents who are demanding stronger gun-control measures after the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Michael Laughlin/AP
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky asks a question to Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Rubio was put on the defensive Wednesday by angry students, teachers and parents who are demanding stronger gun-control measures after the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)(Michael Laughlin/AP)

During CNN’s Wednesday night town hall with Florida lawmakers, survivors of last week’s high school shooting and members of the NRA, Sen. Marco Rubio attempted to explain why a ban on assault rifles wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy, and the audience’s reaction was not quite what he was hoping for.

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While explaining what a ban on assault rifles would do, the Republican senator from Florida said to ensure no one would “get around it.”

“You would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that’s sold in America.” A surprised Rubio, who appeared to have been hoping to convince the audience against such an idea, was met with a solid 10 seconds of applause that overwhelmed the room.

“Fair enough, fair enough,” the senator said as the cheers died down.

>> Related: Who are the top 10 recipients of NRA money?

The moment came just after a grieving father called Rubio’s reaction to the mass shooting “pathetically weak” and asked whether the senator would support banning assault rifles like Nikolas Cruz’s AR-15 in order to save the lives of children.

“It’s too easy to get. It is a weapon of war,” the father emotionally said. “The fact that you can’t stand with everybody else in this building and say that, I’m sorry.”

A flustered Rubio assured him, “I do believe what you’re saying is true,” before launching into his argument against an assault rifles ban.

>> Related: Alleged Florida high school shooter has $800,000 inheritance, reports say

CNN’s town hall follows last week’s shooting at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School where gunman Nikolas Cruz fatally shot 17 people and injured over a dozen more. In the time since, many of the school’s surviving students have been commanding public attention and demanding a conversation about gun reform in the United States.

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Don't try this at home: Top home repairs that aren't DIY

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:47 PM

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Everyone wants to feel self-sufficient, and even those with deep pockets find it's a good idea to stick to some kind of home maintenance budget. If you chuckled at the thought of having "deep pockets," you're probably even more concerned with controlling costs on the home front.

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But frugal isn't always better, even if you have monster DIY skills. "When it comes to doing your own home repairs, there's a thin line between being fearless and foolish," noted Joseph Truini of Popular Mechanics.

Sometimes you have to go all in with the home repair budget, whether it's to avoid bigger, more costly disasters, to assure home safety or to protect your investment. These are six times you should never skimp on home repairs, even if you must hire a pro to get the desired results:

Involved electrical work.

Feel free to install dimmer switches or replace an old ceiling light with a new ceiling fan, Truini advised. "Upgrading existing devices and fixtures is relatively easy and safe, as long as you remember to first turn off the electricity." But anything more complicated than that and it's time to call the pros (and heave a sigh as you get out your wallet). "When it comes to extending existing electrical circuits or adding new ones, call in an experienced, licensed electrician," he said. "When homeowners start messing around with electrical circuits and running new cables, there are two likely outcomes and both are potentially lethal: electrical shock and fire."A leaky roof.

Those drip-drips on the floor, even if it's only the attic floor, can indicate big problems for a homeowner who ignores them. They include possible structural damage, mold or loss of personal property, according to The Balance. "It's nothing to mess with. Address roof leaks as soon as you discover them, and you'll save yourself a ton of cash," it added.

Roof problems can be caused by weather, which can decay roof materials, or a simple lack of maintenance, which most commonly makes a flat or low-sloped roof uneven, so it accumulates water that can destroy roofing material. While a few adjustments can be made by an amateur, the most important roof area to inspect is the flashing, which is supposed to provide a watertight seal between your roof's sections and other parts of the building, according to The Balance. If you try to install, adjust or replace the flashing yourself, you're risking a disaster. "Incorrect installation procedure or attachment, and improper sealing of the flashing will allow the water to enter between the roofing systems and the roof structure."

If the problem is the roof's design, including the slope, drainage or incompatible materials, you should also get an expert roofer involved before the leaks start leaving impressive levels of destruction. While design adjustments are expensive to correct and have to happen while another roofing material is happening, ignoring them will cost many more do-overs and potential roof failures.

Defective water-based plumbing appliances.

Being a homeowner requires a little bit of DIY plumbing for the occasional leaky faucet, clogged drain or stopped-up toilet, according to the Louisville, Kentucky-based Tom Sondergeld Plumbing. "These basic projects can be finished in a couple of hours and don't require any specialized skill," the owner admitted.

But there are larger plumbing issues that can't be ignored, or tackled by a homeowner who's handy with the wrench. One time not to skimp is when a water heater, sump pump or other water-based appliance stops functioning properly. "When these appliances need maintenance or replacement, it can be an extensive process," TSP advised. "A licensed plumber can either repair or replace the appliance properly."

Standing water.

All jokes about hourly rates and attire malfunctions aside, sometimes a plumber's efforts can prevent out and out disasters. One of these instances is when you spot standing water in the house, according to TSP. (Mysterious standing water, that is, not the result of a recent large dog being bathed or a spill you recognize.) The standing water can be close to a water heater, toilet or sink, but the damage may be far more extensive. "A plumber can see if there is more than meets the eye," TSP said. "Typically, standing water is a sign of a much larger problem. Before you start digging into the issue, call a professional and let them use their expertise to diagnose and treat the issue before your home becomes a splash park."

A dirty chimney.

Due to the potential for fires and dangerous fumes, sweeping the chimney annually is not optional, according to the Balance. "Hire a professional chimney sweep once a year to make sure your chimney is free of creosote, bird nests and other flammables," the site recommended.

Clogged gutters.

It may not seem like something worth paying someone to climb up on the roof for, but clogged gutters, downspouts that don't direct away from the house and improper grading can all lead to drainage problems. "All of them put your home's foundation at risk and invite water indoors," noted The Balance. "Now, not later, is the time to tackle those rainwater woes."

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Tennis champ Serena Williams reveals she ‘almost died’ after giving birth to first baby

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:39 PM

Tennis champ Serena Williams looks dejected during her ladies final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Williams played the match just four months after giving birth on Sept. 1, 2017.
Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Tennis champ Serena Williams looks dejected during her ladies final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Williams played the match just four months after giving birth on Sept. 1, 2017.(Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Tennis champion Serena Williams revealed she “almost died after giving birth” to her first child, daughter Olympia, last fall, according to a column by Williams on CNN.com

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Williams had a relatively easy birth Sept. 1, 2017, delivering her daughter by C-section, but two hours later, she was in a fight for her life that lasted six days, she wrote.

“It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot. Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation. So, when I fell short of breath, I didn't wait a second to alert the nurses,” Williams said.

She underwent three surgeries to deal with the health crisis and credited her medical team for her survival.

“When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed,” she wrote on CNN.com.

“I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors and nurses at a hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. They knew exactly how to handle this complicated turn of events. If it weren't for their professional care, I wouldn't be here today.”

Williams knew about her health condition and was able to alert medical staffers that  something was wrong.

>> Related: That is Graves’ disease? Wendy Williams opens up about her condition

Unfortunately, many women don’t know their health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, African-American women are three times more likely than others to die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth.

What You Didn’t Know about Serena Williams

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