SpaceX test fires its Falcon Heavy rocket ahead of second-ever flight NEXT WEEK when it will launch its first commercial mission
- SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is currently scheduled to launch on Tues April 9
- It will be Falcon Heavy’s second-ever flight, and its first commercial mission
- The firm says it is proceeding with caution, and the launch date may change
- Rocket will be carrying Lockheed Martin Arabsat 6A communication satellite
In just a matter of days, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket will take to the skies again for its second ever flight.
It’s been fourteen months since its maiden launch, when it blasted off to become the most powerful rocket in use today, and Falcon Heavy is now gearing up for round two – this time to launch its first commercial mission.
SpaceX completed a static fire of the massive rocket today ahead of lift-off next week, which is currently planned for April 9.
Falcon Heavy will be carrying Lockheed Martin’s Arabsat 6A communications satellite to orbit when it blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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SpaceX completed a static fire of the massive rocket today ahead of lift-off next week, which is currently planned for April 9. Smoke can be seen billowing from the vehicle as it fired up its engines
FALCON HEAVY: SPECS
Height: 70 meters (229.6 feet)
Re-usable Cores: Three
Payload to LEO: 63,800kg (140,660 lb)
Payload to Mars: 16,800kg (37,040 lb)
Total width: 12.2m (39.9 ft)
Mass: 1,420,788kg (3,125,735 lb)
Total thrust at lift-off: 22,819 kilonewtons (5.13 million pounds)
Tuesday’s tentative launch date will be the first time Falcon Heavy flies using the new Block 5 hardware, which is designed to last longer than previous versions without the need for refurbishment.
Because of this, CEO Elon Musk says they’re being ‘extra cautious,’ and says the schedule could shift.
Falcon Heavy will be even more powerful this time around, with a maximum thrust of 2,550 tons, according to Musk – or about 10 percent higher than last year’s demo.
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) confirmed the plans in a statement last month before the exact launch date had been set.
‘A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, from Kennedy Space Center,’ KSC said.
Fourteen months after blasting off for the first time to become the most powerful rocket in use today, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy will take to the skies again on April 9 to complete another critical milestone
‘The satellite will deliver television, internet and mobile phone services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe,’ the statement added.
‘Arabsat-6A is part of the two-satellite Arabsat-6G program for Arabsat.’
The launch will be the Falcon Heavy’s first commercial mission, marking an important step forward for its potential use in the future.
Falcon Heavy launched for the first time last year, on February 6 following roughly five years of setbacks.
Falcon Heavy launched for the first time last year, on February 6 following roughly five years of setbacks. It carried a red Tesla Roadster with a dummy in the driver’s seat
The rocket boasts three reusable cores, each containing nine Merlin engines for a whopping total of 27.
This gave it a total thrust of 2,500 tons – or the equivalent of 18 Boeing 747 aircraft at full throttle.
The new iteration will push the thrust up to 2,500 tons.
While it isn’t more powerful than NASA’s Saturn V rocket, which took its last flight in 1973, SpaceX’s heavy-lift rocket is the most powerful currently in operation.
HOW DOES SPACEX’S FALCON HEAVY ROCKET COMPARE TO NASA’S SATURN V, WHICH BROUGHT MAN TO THE MOON?
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which successfully completed its first test flight today, is set to be the largest operational rocket in the world.
According to the firm, only the Saturn V moon rocket, which was used to send humans to the moon for the Apollo missions, has delivered more payload to orbit.
NASA’s Saturn V, which last flew in 1973, stood 111 meters tall (363 feet) tall.
When fully fuelled, it weighed 2.8 million kilograms (6.2 million pounds) – the weight of about 400 elephants.
It generated 7.6 million pounds of thrust at launch.
The Falcon Heavy, on the other hand, uses three cores – each equipped with 9 engines for a total of 27 Merlin engines.
Together, these generate 5.13 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.
The rocket stands 224 feet tall, and weighs 140,660 lbs.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy (left) is now said the be the most powerful operational rocket. It has only been surpassed by NASA’s Saturn V (right), which ceased operations in the 1970s