SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk revealed in 2011 that a high-powered rocket named the Falcon Heavy would make its debut in 2013. However, after a series of schedule delays and some accidents, the agency was unable to meet its promised deadline.
However, SpaceX finally appears to be nearing the launch phase for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is based on the less powerful Falcon 9 rocket from the company. SpaceX released a video on May 10, which showed the Falcon Heavy's core engines going through their first static test.
Ready For Launch?
The video may be taken as an indication that SpaceX will launch the rocket soon. The first static engine test involves firing up the engine without actually achieving lift-off. The test, which was conducted in its McGregor, Texas, facility was successful and furthers hopes of a 2017 launch.
Reports indicate that SpaceX may launch the Falcon Heavy by the end of summer of this year. However, the company has not confirmed the same.
However, SpaceX shared a post regarding the Falcon Heavy first stage engine test on its official Twitter account.
First static fire test of a Falcon Heavy center core completed at our McGregor, TX rocket development facility last week. pic.twitter.com/tHUHc1QiKG
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) 9 May 2017
Falcon Heavy Capabilities
The Falcon Heavy rocket would pack in three cores instead of the solitary one found in the Falcon 9 rocket. This would give the upcoming spacecraft additional boost. SpaceX claims that it would be able to carry roughly 140,000 pounds of cargo into the Earth's orbit. By comparison, the Falcon 9 can carry roughly 50,000 pounds of cargo.
SpaceX also claimed that the Falcon Heavy rocket would be able to haul around 37,000 pounds of cargo to Mars. The company is planning to use the rocket to send two tourists around the moon in 2018 and also has plans of sending it to Mars' surface by 2020.
Musk previously revealed that the middle core in the Falcon Heavy rocket features some added hardware, whereas the two cores on the sides are identical to the Falcon 9's core. Not much is known regarding the added capabilities in the middle core, but it is likely a necessary feature for supporting the other cores.
The Falcon Heavy will be the biggest and most powerful rocket on the planet until NASA finishes its Space Launch System and Blue Origin launches its New Glenn. Previously, the Delta IV rocket from the United Launch Alliance was known to be the biggest ever.
SpaceX fans and space enthusiasts would welcome the news of the agency testing the cores of the Falcon Heavy rocket. All evidence points to a summer launch of the spacecraft from Launch Pad 39A in Cape Canaveral.