World’s most powerful rocket debut flight
January 31, 2018 -- SpaceX is planning to attempt the first launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket around the end of this month. With 27 engines generating five million pounds of thrust at liftoff, the triple-core booster will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle. The long-delayed inaugural launch is a demonstration mission without a paying customer.
In December, the company’s chief executive Elon Musk announced the rocket would carry his own Tesla Roadster sports car on a trajectory that would take it past the planet Mars. The Falcon Heavy will be “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” according to SpaceX.
Before launch, the Falcon Heavy will perform a critical Static Fire test. A staggered start sequence will see all 27 Merlin 1D engines ignited together.
Once the static fire is complete, data will be reviewed to determine whether a second static fire is necessary before proceeding into the launch campaign.
Falcon Heavy will target the end of January for its maiden voyage with January 25 pencilled in as a No Earlier Than (NET) date if the static fire goes perfectly.