SpaceX Test-Fires Falcon Heavy Rocket Ahead of Maiden Flight

Aboard the flight will be a whimsical cross-promotional payload for Musk — a cherry red Roadster built by his other business Tesla

Aboard the flight will be a whimsical cross-promotional payload for Musk — a cherry red Roadster built by his other business Tesla

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 booster was originally scheduled to fly in 2014, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk admitted the company had a naive understanding of the flight dynamics of strap-on systems.

The most capable rocket in the world today is United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy, which can place 28,370 kg (62,540 lb) into LEO or 13,810 kg (30,440 lb) into GTO.

Musk, who is also the founder of Tesla cars, made a decision to launch a cherry red Tesla Roadster as the payload on the first test flight. Musk, who owns both companies, has warned the rocket could explode. The rocket is destined for Earth's neighbor Mars where it will send a very special payload into orbit around the red planet. Earlier he had tweeted he wanted to launch "the silliest thing" imaginable and decided it would be a Roadster playing the David Bowie hit Space Oddity. His entrepreneurial spirit has extended beyond automotive pursuits into areas as weird as The Boring Company - a business he intends to use to spearhead a network of high-speed underground tunnels to trim his LA commute - and as lofty as SpaceX, an effort Musk hopes will eventually put earthlings on Mars. He said on Instagram that it would be launched into a "billion year elliptic Mars orbit".

That approach allowed SpaceX to design a heavy-lift rocket largely by rearranging the same pieces.

The 70m-tall Falcon Heavy is created to put up to a maximum of 64 tonnes in low-Earth orbit, although in reality it will be rare that the vehicle lofts that much mass.

Californian startup Rocket Lab celebrates successful launch from New Zealand
Electron launched from the Mahia Peninsula yesterday afternoon, carrying a payload of commercial satellites into low Earth orbit. It has been able to lower the cost of rocket launches because the payload is now much smaller than it was in the past.

SpaceX says it has the most powerful rocket in the world.

The rocket will use 27 engines and three separate re-usable cores that will return to Earth after liftoff during the test flight, which is set to be one of the firm's most technically complex challenges to date. Another private company, Blue Origin, intends to debut its reusable New Glenn rocket in 2020, and ULA is working on a vehicle called Vulcan.

"Hold-down test fire next week".

SpaceX had hoped to fire the engines last month. He said last July that there's "a real good chance that that vehicle does not make it to orbit".

"Will have double thrust of next largest rocket". SpaceX now has a Falcon 9 launch from nearby Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station scheduled for January 30, suggesting a launch attempt will take place after that.

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