May 20, 2018

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Launches its Biggest Rocket

30 January 2018, 01:22 | Rufus Hill

Elon Musk Says SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Will Be Ready For Launch On February 6

Falcon Heavy | SpaceX

"Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit", said SpaceX. At the time, SpaceX said that trip could occur in 2018, though the company hasn't offered any updates recently.

Elon Musk has said the rocket will carry a red Tesla Roadster into space, eventually to a Mars orbit, where it should remain "for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent". He finished reminding us about the Falcon 9 launch that is required to happen before Falcon Heavy's. In this second tweet, it was further mentioned that February 6 is the NET date or No Earlier Than date! Educated estimates place the number of reused launches at around five between February and April 2018, six if Falcon Heavy is included (both side boosters are flight-proven).

The Falcon Heavy rocket consists of 3 Falcon 9 first stages, and each Falcon 9 rocket is powered by 9 Merlin engines.

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

According to experts, 92% of the thrust would be enough for the first launch.

The rocket was expected to launch back in 2013 but the date had to be moved to 2017.

But even with all that careful preparation, things could still go haywire.

In what is known as a static firing, all 27 engines on the launcher's first stage were ignited together to check they are flight-ready.

The auto is also a payload that Musk can afford to lose: Last July, he said there's a significant chance that the maiden launch could go awry. As last July, there's a "real good chance that vehicle doesn't make it to orbit".

Apart from an eruption of flames and smoke, it'll destroy Musk's Tesla - and, potentially, decimate the launch pad. The rocket was fixed down and its engines fired up for the test. In September 2016, a Falcon 9 rocket spontaneously erupted in flames and caused significant damage to a launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"Aiming for the first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy".

The launch can be watched live. Instead, people are flocking to Florida's Space Coast for the launch (so much so that NASA sold out $195 dollar tickets to a viewing party for the launch with a champagne toast and commemorative glasses) in large part to see what will occur after liftoff: SpaceX will attempt to land all three cores of the enormous rocket's first stage, with two touching down nearly simultaneously on ground-based landing pads, and the center core descending shortly after to land on an autonomous drone ship at sea. Assuming nothing changes, we'll all get to see how this Falcon Heavy holds up to the rigors of a full launch in roughly a week and a half.

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