This week’s video comes from Florida where SpaceX has conducted a static firing test on Falcon Heavy, a launch vehicle designed to lift over 54 metric tons of payload into orbit.
According to SpaceX, this is over twice the capacity of United Launch Alliance’s proven Delta IV Heavy at one-third of the cost.
Falcon Heavy will generate over five million pounds of thrust at lift-off via three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores containing 27 Merlin engines that are configured with eight engines surrounding one centre engine on each core.
Like Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy is designed to be reusable and both platforms share SpaceX’s composite payload fairing that protects satellites during delivery to low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous transfer orbit.
SpaceX state that Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space, restoring the possibility of flying crewed missions to the Moon or Mars.
Commenting on yesterday’s (January 24, 2018) static test firing, company CEO Elon Musk used social media to say: “Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good. Generated quite a thunderhead of steam. Launching in a week or so.”
Future missions for Falcon Heavy involve taking payloads into space for Arabsat and Inmarsat.