Falcon Heavy finally fires up for the first time

Lt. Gen. John Thompson: SpaceX's USAF Certification for Falcon 9 to Remain

Taxpayers Likely to Foot Billion-Dollar Bill After SpaceX Crash

The Falcon Heavy test flight is one of the most highly anticipated launches of early 2018 - a year that is expected to be busy for SpaceX.

"Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good", the CEO tweeted. The vehicle will be playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" during launch, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Elon Musk has also said the rocket will carry a pair of civilians on a week-long trip around the moon. Musk, who owns both companies, has warned the rocket could explode.

When it lifts off for the first time in late January, the Falcon Heavy will become the most powerful rocket in the world thanks to its 5.1 million pounds of thrust generated through 27 Merlin engines. His idea is to send this red roadster towards the orbit Mars takes around the Sun. Instead, Musk will launch a Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" into "a billion year elliptic Mars orbit".

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy roared to life for the first time on Wednesday. Destination is Mars orbit. "I love that rocket so much", Musk said in a tweet last month.

The Falcon Heavy "megarocket" will fire beyond orbit from the former Apollo 11 moon rocket launchpad at the Kennedy Space Centre near Cape Canaveral, Florida. The company tweeted these photos of the vehicle inside the nose cone of the Falcon Heavy. Another private company, Blue Origin, intends to debut its reusable New Glenn rocket in 2020, and ULA is working on a vehicle called Vulcan.

"This is going to be the most powerful rocket in the world", Harwood said.

The space vehicle is made up of three Falcon 9 rocket cores, each of which is created to return for a powered landing and later reuse.

SpaceX had hoped to fire the engines last month. The post gleefully noted Falcon Heavy is "one step closer to first test flight!"

"Hold-down test fire next week".

The Falcon Heavy is a towering presence, sitting in all its monstrous glory on the LC-39A launchpad - the very same launchpad that was used to send astronauts to the moon courtesy of Saturn V rockets.

With Falcon Heavy's additional lift, researchers planning the Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor telescope, a proposed mission for the 2020s with a mirror at least 9 meters across, could focus less on reducing weight and more on delivering a great scientific instrument, says Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

Another tricky aspect is the large number of rocket engines.

Latest News