SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket roars to life during test fire

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SpaceX is planning to launch the first flight of its big new Falcon Heavy rocket "in a week or so", according to a tweet sent out by Elon Musk on Wednesday.

The company conducted a hold-down firing test of the rocket's 27 Merlin 1D main engines at launch pad 39a that generated approximately 5 million pounds of thrust.

SpaceX is one step closer to launching its much-anticipated Falcon Heavy rocket.


"Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on February 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy", Musk said in a tweet Saturday.

Musk has repeatedly warned there's a good chance the new rocket could blow up, thus his own personal property will be aboard. Static fire operations of the flight-proven booster that will launch the SES-16/GovSat1 mission next week occurred around midday local time on Friday.

SpaceX also has a busy few weeks coming up, with its next Falcon 9 launch expected from Florida on, potentially overlapping with Musk's declared timeline for the Falcon Heavy.


If successful, his red sports auto will end up in orbit around the sun, traveling as far out as Mars. That's three times as many engines as are on SpaceX's current workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9.

Like Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy is created to be reusable and both platforms share SpaceX's composite payload fairing that protects satellites during delivery to low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous transfer orbit.

"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 wrote. That's been customary ever since a Falcon 9 exploded during a 2016 practice engine firing, destroying both rocket and satellite. More impressive that the output of the platform however, is that Musk claims each Falcon Heavy launch will cost less than a third of the price of a Delta IV launch, which is now the most powerful operational platform in use today.


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