SpaceX targets Falcon Heavy test flight launch for Feb

  • SpaceX targets Falcon Heavy test flight launch for Feb

SpaceX targets Falcon Heavy test flight launch for Feb

Of course, there's always a chance that the rocket may not work in exactly the way Musk wants it to.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy stands tall at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida during ground testing. "Easy viewing from the public causeway", Musk tweeted Saturday afternoon. It is likely that the main goal of Falcon Heavy's extended static fire was to ensure that SpaceX had developed a safe and functional method of igniting all 27 engines without damaging itself, a real risk from the torque of each engine's turbopump operating in the same orientation. If the SES-16/GovSat 1 mission delays, so will Falcon Heavy.

After several weeks of preparation, SpaceX's massive Falcon Heavy rocket on Launch Pad 39A completed a static firing for the first time last week. If successful, his red sports vehicle will end up in orbit around the sun, traveling as far out as Mars.

"Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on February 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy", Musk said in a tweet Saturday. The thunderous booms could be heard at the press site three miles away, as huge white clouds of engine exhaust billowed upward.

While a launch date has been set, the company still faces a regulatory obstacle ahead of the launch.

The Falcon Heavy will be minus its featured load for the test. It's basically three Falcon 9 rockets - the current SpaceX standard-bearer - strapped together. "It's guaranteed to be exciting".

The Falcon Heavy is tailor-made for launching large satellites to geosynchronous orbits, or for sending payloads to the moon or Mars. NASA introduced reusability with its space shuttles in 1981, reflying the orbiters as well as booster segments and main engines until their retirement in 2011. However, Musk has said that the rocket could fail on its debut test flight.

Booster B1032 is a Block 3 version of the Falcon 9 vehicle, and while this will only be the booster's second flight, it will fly in its expendable configuration.

Launch viewing tickets through Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex went on sale Thursday and quickly sold out for the closest "Feel the Heat" spots at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

SpaceX is working on an even bigger rocket that would replace the Falcon line.

It's also important to take Musk's timeframe for launch with a grain of salt. So is United Launch Alliance, a venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, with its next-generation Vulcan.