SpaceX test fires Falcon Heavy, one of the most powerful rockets ever

Jan 25, 2018, 01:58
SpaceX test fires Falcon Heavy, one of the most powerful rockets ever

But the new capability would mean the firm in future has no hard launching the biggest military and commercial telecommunications satellites - and still recover all three first-stage boosters.

As a private entity, SpaceX is under no obligation to use their most precious commodity to test independent projects or serve other scientific objectives, but once it has demonstrated a proven reliability, it will likely be tasked with multitude of missions serving both the private and federal sectors-perhaps even carrying astronauts.

Wednesday's firing appeared to last for about 10 seconds. Later versions are planned that would increase performance to 130 MT (286,600 lb), slightly more than NASA's Apollo-era Saturn V rocket, the largest rocket built to date.

Observers on the ground noted plumes of smoke filled the Florida launch pad on Wednesday, and SpaceX shortly after posted a video of the static fire on Twitter.

SpaceXThe SpaceX Falcon Heavy has the ability to lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb), a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.

"I love the thought of a vehicle drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future", Musk tweeted late last year. Musk has repeatedly warned the rocket could explode. His idea is to send this red roadster towards the orbit Mars takes around the Sun.

Delays beset the static fire test, so we'll stay cautiously optimistic about the launch timeline.

The space vehicle is made up of three Falcon 9 rocket cores, each of which is created to return for a powered landing and later reuse. Since then, SpaceX has reeled off 19 successful flights - and hot fires - in a row, most recently launching a classified satellite known as Zuma.

The Falcon Heavy won't, however, be the most powerful rocket in history. Eastern on the pad at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A).