We are going to see the first launch of the Falcon Heavy in person February 6th 2018. What is the expected time from initial launch to landing of the two strap on boosters nearby?


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The core boosters will fly basically a standard Falcon 9 mission, burning for the usual amount of time then doing an RTLS, which on Flight 20, the first LZ-1 landing was about 9:45 after launch.

There is a report that SpaceX will try to stagger the landing, which might affect the landing time by some small number of seconds. But about 10 minutes seems to be pretty good estimate. If you are there for the launch, the landing is not that long to wait.

The Press Kit for the Falcon Heavy Demo flight is now published. Looks like the answer is 7:58 so less than the earlier suggested 10 minutes, but not that far off.

Snip of timeline from Press Kit

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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide some sources for your answer? "Basically" and "there is a report" are effectively weasel words, and we shouldn't be giving credence to rumours. When there's an answer, that's when it's an appropriate time to post an answer, IMO. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2018 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ Not every answer needs an encyclopedic level of research. "about 10 minutes" is close enough for the needs of this question. What the question does need is a timely answer, i.e. before the flight happens. After the flight we can give an exact answer using the webcast as a reference, but that's too late for Todd McLendon. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Feb 4, 2018 at 8:22
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    $\begingroup$ @ReactingToAngularVues A typical F-9 first stage landing was 9:45 after launch. However, they can vary the trajectory enough to change that, and until they announce it finally it won't help. However, it is a very good metric for first order approximation. It won't be 2 minutes and it won't be 100 minutes. Nor will it be 27 minutes. It might be 8:07 or 12:12, but around 10 minutes is pretty good as a guide. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Feb 4, 2018 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ Exact time is not needed and 10 minutes is awesome. The issue is I am very pressed for time. If the launch happens close to 1:30 I am good to go however if it gets pushed back i could have a problem. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2018 at 14:48

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