SpaceX static fire flight-proven booster for SES-16/GovSat1 mission

SpaceX static fire flight-proven booster for SES-16/GovSat1 mission

The Falcon Heavy platform has been in development since 2011, though the complexities of balancing what is effectively three individual Falcon 9 rockets secured to one another proved more hard to overcome than originally anticipated, leading to a series of delays that have pushed the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy into 2018. "Launching in a week or so". It's constructed by strapping three of SpaceX's proven Falcon 9 rockets together, which provides around 5 million pounds of thrust at takeoff.

The February 6 date was rumored late this past week, and SpaceX had previously said they were aiming to have the launch take place roughly a week after their successful static test fire of the rocket, which took place on January 24.

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Musk tweeted out the flight is aimed for February 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. The company has 30 flights planned over the next 11 months. However, Musk has said that the rocket could fail on its debut test flight. Musk hopes to use the Falcon Heavy to send tourists around the Moon, and to send supplies to Mars for a manned mission. That's three times as many engines as are on SpaceX's current workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9. More impressive that the output of the platform however, is that Musk claims each Falcon Heavy launch will cost less than a third of the price of a Delta IV launch, which is now the most powerful operational platform in use today.

The Falcon Heavy carries the largest payload amount since the Saturn V rocket, which carried out a 310,000 pounds into space.

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"I love the thought of a auto drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future", Musk wrote. Two of the Heavy's side-mounted first stage boosters are expected to jettison from the rocket's core around two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, then fly back to Earth and land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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