Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX has released a spectacular video of their brand-new rocket the Falcon Heavy on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center. Scheduled for launch on the 31st of January 2018 this is the first time the Falcon Heavy has been fired up and should prove the technology has what it takes to take payloads all the way to Mars.
The most powerful launch vehicle since America went to the moon on the Saturn V Apollo rockets the Falcon Heavy first stage rockets produce over 5 million pounds of thrust and can carry 63,800 kilograms of payload into low earth orbit, or 16,800 kilograms to Mars. While the Space Shuttle did technically produce more thrust with the 3 liquid engines producing over 3.54 million pounds of thrust and the two solid boosters providing 5.6 million pounds of thrust the payload that it could lift into orbit was only 27,500 kilograms.
The first stage of the Falcon Heavy will require all 27 of its Merlin 1D engines to fire simultaneously and run in perfect harmony to make it into orbit, no small feat. With so many potential problems SpaceX has developed a new self-destruct mechanism that will destroy the rocket without human intervention, as is traditional with NASA launch vehicles. This nerve racking test run for the Falcon Heavy also requires that a test payload be used, it is far too risky to attempt the launch with a satellite that costs 100’s of millions of dollars. In the payload bay for this launch Elon Musk has loaded his personal Tesla Roadster, which he hopes will be ready and waiting for him in orbit around Mars should all go well.
Presented for your viewing pleasure is the drone fly-by of this massive rocket sitting in position on the launch pad. A rocket that will hopefully take people back to the moon and eventually on to Mars. Sit back, relax and prepare to be impressed by the next leap in launch technology.