The first launch of Falcon Heavy is finally knocking on the door! According to yesterday’s tweet of Chris Gerbhardt (@ChrisG_NSF) of NASASpaceflight.com, the Tesla rocket will have its inaugural launch on February 6 “with a backup on the 7th.” Chris, with the hashtag #ItsHappening gave the launch time as 13:30-16:30 EST or 18:30-21:30 UTC.
And please remember, this is the NET (No Earlier Than) date. It is the plan right now, but it is subject to change as all launch dates are. Remember, too, there's a Falcon 9 launch before this that needs to happen first. https://t.co/Ud7Z9IY8Oj
— Chris G – NSF (@ChrisG_NSF) January 26, 2018
He tweeted again with a screenshot of the first tweet that “It is the plan right now, but it is subject to change as all launch dates are.” In this second tweet, it was further mentioned that February 6 is the NET date or No Earlier Than date! He finished reminding us about the Falcon 9 launch that is required to happen before Falcon Heavy’s.
The excitement was enough expressed in Chris’ retweet of the announcement, suggesting that this is finally real! The retweet reads: “Subject to change and SpaceX officially saying it, of course.” Although it is now confirmed by Elon Musk about the Falcon Heavy maiden launch. Falcon Heavy will target February 6 and the backup date on February 7 – is 13:30-16:30 EST (18:30-21:30 UTC).
Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2018
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 test had 10 seconds spent at full thrust for protecting the launch pad from the rocket’s mass power, although the data gathered came out satisfactory. Now only remains certain mandatory tests of the rocket and the pad systems for making sure that they are working as expected after certain months of inactivity.
According to experts, 92% of the thrust would be enough for the first launch. 27 Merlin 1D engines of the first stage can produce power that equals the same to twenty 747 passenger jets taking off. Given that, it is safe to consider that the LC-39A launch pad had handled the pressures of Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches beforehand. Both these rockets were more powerful than Falcon Heavy.
The static fire was extended to probably ensure that the rocket can safely and precisely ignite all of the 27 engines. It is as well believed that SpaceX did carry out a staggered ignition for about 2 seconds. Musk’s tweet read: “Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good.”
After the first launch of Falcon Heavy carrying the Tesla Roadster payload, there will be three stage-booster rockets landing almost simultaneously, two by land and one by sea.
Dear Tesla fans, stay awake following this space for our coverage on the next update on this!