SpaceX announced during the late afternoon on Saturday that the Falcon Heavy‘s first official test will occur on Tuesday, February 7th. This test will attempt to land all three first stage cores, two of them will first aim to land in Cape Canaveral in Florida while the remaining one will land on a drone ship on the sea.
The Falcon Heavy is currently the world’s most powerful rocket, and the most boosted one since the Soviet Union’s unsuccessful N1 rocket, with 7.5 million lbs of liftoff thrust. However, this launch will be the first of a generation to come, since NASA has publicly stated that they are currently working on an even more powerful rocket named Space Launch System that will hold as much as 8.8 million lbs of liftoff thrust.
What makes SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket a piece of history in the making is its time and era. The success of Elon Musk’s project is completely different and more powerful than any other rocket launch made in history.
Scooplet: Harrison Ford has gotten approval to land his private jet on the Space Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. He'll arrive Tuesday morning to view the Falcon Heavy demo flight.
Will be tracking your flight, Solo. pic.twitter.com/5Q1JKWP2iB
— Robin Seemangal (@nova_road) February 3, 2018
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy: success chances
Founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk said that there is a “good chance that it might not make it into orbit.” This may be according to many experts because of the outstanding characteristic of 27 engines on the Falcon Heavy, it would only take a single malfunction to bring down the anticipated spacecraft.
Another concern regarding the Falcon Heavy not making it into orbit is the chances of it exploding, Musk, however, has been quite pessimistic when it comes to the Falcon, “I hope it makes it far enough away from the [launch] pad so that it does not cause pad damage,” Musk said last year. “I would consider even that a win to be honest.” Basically, if the Falcon explodes too close to the launch pad, it could be completely catastrophic for the pad.
Falcon Heavy launch simulation almost ready. Will be set to Bowie’s Life on Mars.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2018
This particular launch pad, 39A was specifically built for Space X’s launches and it is currently the only pad that can host flights for Space X. Also the new spacecraft developed by Musk’s company to help NASA ferry astronauts to the international space station, known as Crew Dragon, can only be hosted by the launchpad 39A as well. So the pad is of paramount importance for both Space X and NASA.
It is safe to say that the Falcon Heavy is definitely the riskiest project NASA has been involved in this decade.