SpaceX static fire flight-proven booster for SES-16/GovSat1 mission

Crews performed a successful static-fire test of the rocket, which stands on launch pad 39-A, at Kennedy Space Center Wednesday.

The static fire test run consisted in the simulation of the initial launch stage of the rocket; this particular test run was the first time SpaceX fires up 27 simultaneous engines.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted the target date on Saturday, adding that there will be plenty of viewing opportunity for the public from the nearby causeway.

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. It is likely that the main goal of Falcon Heavy's extended static fire was to ensure that SpaceX had developed a safe and functional method of igniting all 27 engines without damaging itself, a real risk from the torque of each engine's turbopump operating in the same orientation.

Falcon Heavy looks like three Falcon 9 cores strapped together, but that's a simplification - Musk said teams had to strengthen the airframe to account for thrust changes, re-examine aerodynamics and account for altered acoustics thanks to three time as many engines as a typical Falcon 9 mission. Just as the static fire was preceded by almost two weeks of concerted testing and delays, the same rocket's launch should also be expected to slip and/or scrub at least a handful of times before finding success.

The first payload for the Falcon Heavy, however, is just a fun one.

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The Falcon 9 is now used to hoist satellites and supplies to the International Space Station.

The cargo on board for this mission is a cherry red original model Tesla Roadster - and if things go very well, it'll be put into a long looping Mars orbit, a nod to everything Musk's ventures have accomplished thus far, and also what they hope to achieve in the future.

According to the Verge, the Falcon Heavy will carry Elon Musk's personal Tesla roadster as its virgin payload, carrying the electric vehicle into an orbit around the sun that is the same distance away as Mars' orbit.

If the Falcon Heavy launches successfully, it will become a commercially available spacecraft capable of carrying heavier payloads into Earth's orbit.

The Falcon Heavy is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle.


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