We’re getting so close to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy maiden flight that we can almost smell those roaring Merlin engine exhaust fumes. Its launch will mark the ignition of the world’s most powerful production rocket by a factor of two.
Image Credit: SpaceX
Falcon Heavy, which looks like three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, purportedly generates enough thrust to lift 119,000 pounds from Earth’s surface into outer space. That said, it’s the ideal platform for upcoming space missions involving the Moon and Mars.
On the other hand, SpaceX plans to throttle the Falcon Heavy’s performance at 92% during its maiden flight so that engineers can capture data more effectively for improving future launches.
Standing tall at launch pad 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Falcon Heavy’s 27 engines should ignite by approximately 1:30 P.M. Eastern time. Inside of its cargo bay exists a surprise concocted by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk himself: a Tesla Roadster electric car that could make its way into outer space if everything goes according to plan.
It’s hard to contain the amount of excitement SpaceX has about its mega-rocket, so the company put together the following launch animation video to depict how everything should go down:
It’s worth noting that the Falcon Heavy is an untested rocket platform. Despite static fire tests performed by the commercial space company already, a Falcon Heavy has never flown before. Consequently, no one knows what’s going to happen; the rocket could either make its way into space as planned or blow up before it even gets there.
Assuming it does reach space, SpaceX will attempt to land all three of Falcon Heavy’s first stages upright like they do with Falcon 9 rockets. Two of those will make their way back to landing pads on dry land, while the third attempts to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
No matter what the outcome of this spectacular maiden flight event might be, it’s sure to draw heaps of attention. It should be interesting to find out whether Falcon Heavy will de-throne the Falcon 9 for massive satellite launches going forward.