Watch SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launch a $1 billion asteroid mission for NASA

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SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket is set to launch on Friday morning, flying a NASA mission bound for a distant asteroid.

Targeting the asteroid Psyche, the eponymous NASA mission aims to fly a spacecraft – about the width of a tennis court – on a journey of almost six years and about 2.2 billion miles, arriving at the planetary body in July 2029.

The launch is scheduled for liftoff at 10:19 a.m. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, will launch the rocket at 10:19 a.m. ET. If postponed for weather or technical reasons, SpaceX has backup launch opportunities in the coming days.

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NASA wants to study the composition of the asteroid, which the agency describes as “an unusual object likely rich in metal.” NASA

The agency expects to spend about $1.2 billion on the Psyche mission, including the costs of development and operations. NASA has awarded SpaceX $131 million for the launch of this mission. The company will land and recover both side boosters of the rocket, but it will burn the core.