After flying Falcon 9 for a few years now, SpaceX has its Falcon Heavy as a launch vehicle that’s capable of traveling to ‘moon, Mars and beyond’. Several weeks ago, SpaceX stated about the first launch within this year, but the report says it has been postponed till 2018.
Falcon Heavy (previously Falcon 9 Heavy) is the world’s ‘most powerful’ rocket, having over 5.1 million pounds of thrust at sea level. It is more likely a combo of three Falcon 9 rockets. The center unit will consist of a strong frame for supporting the other two. The three Falcon 9 cores will endorse a total of 27 Merlin 1D engines to fire at launch.
SpaceX primarily didn’t want to miss the promised 2017 launch and had been working on the same. Earlier this year, Falcon Heavy’s revamped center core was fired, where structural modifications were quite adjusting to the performance of the engine. Soon afterward, SpaceX aimed at a November launch, then in December and now seemingly by January 2018.
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says that they would go for a static fire test before the year turns, where the fully assembled rocket will be in front of public eyes for the first time. The company will supervise the operations of all 27 engines and then the launch is to come a few weeks after.
Like Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy is also theoretically reusable. It has the capacity of lifting payloads of about 140,700 pounds into orbit, around 58,000 pounds to geostationary orbit and about 37,000 pounds to Mars.
Falcon Heavy will launch from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A, where Saturn V of NASA used to do the same. Coincidentally, Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket in operation after Saturn V was retired.