tech2 News StaffJan 25, 2018 09:16:17 IST
The day when humanity's most powerful rocket lifts off is approaching closer and closer after SpaceX successfully test-fired the Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket is equivalent to roughly three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together to create a massive super rocket which weighs 54 metric tons and combines 27 Merlin engines together to generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.
The successful static test fire on the Falcon Heavy saw all of its engines fired up for 12 seconds and this confirms that the rocket is ready to make its journey to Mars.
As matter of fact, after the test fire, Elon Musk tweeted that the launch could be expected in a week or so.
The test fire was scheduled for 22 January, but owing to the government shutdown the test was moved to 24 January.
The Falcon Heavy, was first announced by Elon Musk back in 2011 and since then the journey of completing the rocket has been, let's say, less than smooth. There were several setbacks and delays, launch dates were postponed and the scientists faced quite a lot of technical difficulties in understanding how the three Falcon 9 rockets could work in perfect sync as one single unit.
Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good. Generated quite a thunderhead of steam. Launching in a week or so. pic.twitter.com/npaqatbNir
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 24, 2018
SpaceX's hard work has paid off and it seems that Elon Musk's vision for making humans an interplanetary species may finally see the light of day.
The Falcon Heavy is the largest rocket since the Saturn V and can also lift twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy at one third the cost.
In the future, Falcon Heavy will in all likelihood be used as a vehicle to transport humans to the Moon, Mars and perhaps even beyond.
The Falcon Heavy will have a very special payload inside it. The Tesla Roadster Cherry Red first introduced back in 2008 will be placed inside the fairing of the rocket with the intention of putting the car in Martian orbit for the next billion years. Talk about crazy!
In the spirit of cost-saving and reusability, which have always been the main agenda for Elon Musk, all the three booster rockets are set to land back to Earth after the payload has cleared Earth's atmosphere. Let's hope we get to see this exciting and potentially game-changing launch successfully. No official dates have been disclosed by SpaceX about the launch, but we should know more in a day or two.