Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

SpaceX ready for one more mission before Falcon Heavy's maiden launch

SpaceX ready for one more mission before Falcon Heavy's maiden launch

Large white clouds of the engine exhaust swelled out into the blue sky with everything around seemed to be quite normal: The rocket that stood tall at 70 meter of 230-foot has been spotlessly white even after the test on such a historic pad that was once used for the launch of NASA's space shuttles and Apollo moon rockets.

Following an incredible six flight-proven Falcon 9 launches in 2017, the very first year SpaceX began flying reused rockets, GovSat-1 will mark the first of many, many additional flight-proven launches to come in 2018.

SpaceX advertises that the Falcon Heavy will be able to lift 140,660 pounds of cargo to low-Earth orbit, 37,040 pounds to Mars, and 7,720 pounds to Pluto.

The Falcon Heavy is essentially three smaller Falcon 9 rockets fastened together.

Somewhat sadly, the inherent engineering limits of older versions of Falcon 9 and the imminent introduction of Block 5 mean that SpaceX has less and less of a need to recover flight proven boosters that have no hope of being cost-effectively refurbished and conducting additional flights.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the Falcon Heavy will launch on February 6.

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Before this announcement, there was a static fire test of the Falcon Heavy, a memorandum of which was "captured in person" by Tom Cross, the Teslarati photographer.

The first launch of Falcon Heavy is finally knocking on the door!

The U.S. Air Force also plans to use a Falcon Heavy to launch a payload dubbed STP-2, which will include some weather forecasting satellites, later this year.

When asked on Twitter why he wanted to throw away a $100,000 auto, he replied, "I love the thought of a vehicle drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future".

"Falcon Heavy is a new rocket, and new rockets are a big deal", said Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. This makes the rocket really "heavy".

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The Falcon Heavy has been in the works for several years now and has seen more than a few delays.

"Twenty-seven engines are firing simultaneously", Musk said at the March press conference.

The launch will be like three normal SpaceX launches happening simultaneously.

Musk chimed in a few days later to confirm the tentative date of the rocket's maiden flight: "Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy".

A SpaceX rocket explosion has destroyed a launch pad before.

How do I watch the launch? Tickets are available at the Kennedy Space Center visitors' complex.

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