SpaceX Finally Launching First Falcon Heavy Rocket in December
Elon Musk will finally launch the "world's most powerful rocket," the Falcon Heavy, in December, Spacex has announced.
While the Spacex founder first began speaking about the Falcon Heavy back in 2005, it sounds like Musk is at last ready to debut his infamous spacecraft to the world.
There have been several updates to the project over the past 12 years, but according to new reports, Musk and SpaceX may finally be ready to get the powerful beast off the ground and into orbit just after Christmas and right before welcoming in 2018.
The SpaceX website still lists 2017 as the takeoff year for Falcon Heavy, but would not confirm the reported "no earlier than December 29" launch details when asked by Popular Mechanics. There have been other tentative launch dates in the past five years, and SpaceX does have other scheduled Falcon 9 tests to run in the next month or so, so it makes sense that they would want to leave some wiggle room for what will be a very important, history-making launch.
In July, Musk shared an update on Instagram that announced "Falcon Heavy maiden launch this November." He followed that up in August with a post of the Falcon Heavy animation and added that "lot can go wrong in the November launch."
SpaceX has had its share of failures, but when they stick the landing, they literally stick the landing, so a little delay is no cause for alarm.
In its first stage, the Falcon Heavy has three Falcon 9 engine cores, each with 9 Merlin rocket engines for a total of 27.
The thrust generated by the engines will be around 5.13 million pounds (22,819 kN at sea level) which SpaceX calculates to be the equivalent of 18 Boeing 747s.
Once operational, the Falcon Heavy will be able to lift 119,000 lbs (53 metric tons) into orbit, which is double what United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy can handle (at one-third of the manufacturing cost).
A lot can change in the next two months, so we'll see if SpaceX is able to end 2017 on a high note or if the Falcon Heavy will help the company kick off 2018.