SpaceX static fires Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX static fires Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX static fires Falcon Heavy rocket

The static test fire performed today is a necessary step prior to an actual test launch, firing up all 27 of the rocket's big Merlin engines prior to trying to do the same but actually following through with a proper take-off.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket - the self-proclaimed "most powerful rocked in the world" - is preparing to conduct a static fire test on Wednesday afternoon. Just hours after the test, Elon Musk took to Twitter to confirm the success of the crucial test, which came a bit late due to the government shutdown.

The long-anticipated test flight will carry Musk's Tesla Roadster.

Musk has also warned that the rocket could fail and explode.

Images released by SpaceX show an original Roadster perched on a large cone inside the Falcon Heavy on what appears to be a secure mount to keep it stationary as the rocket makes its maiden flight.

SpaceX and science reporters teased the possibility of a static fire for more than week, but the test has been routinely scrubbed and delayed - frustrating those who are trying to document the event. The auto would travel around the sun in endless ellipses that extended as far out as Mars' orbit.

Other possible targets for Falcon Heavy include Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus and the ice giants Neptune and Uranus. "Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent", Musk said.

The Heavy has three rocket boosters at its base. Now he admits that putting together the Falcon Heavy proved more daunting than he initially thought.

If successful, "it continues SpaceX's very impressive run of achieving launch milestones that have been viewed as very hard", said Carissa Christensen, chief executive of Bryce Space and Technology, a consulting firm that follows the space industry.

In order to get all that mass into the air, the Falcon Heavy has three Falcon 9 engine cores which give it approximately the same thrust as 18 Boeing 747s.

The idea of the Falcon Heavy is to help achieve Musk's mission of getting us to Mars within the next few decades.

He tweeted: 'Falcon Heavy launching from same @NASA pad as the Saturn V Apollo 11 moon rocket. Musk said the first Falcon Heavy's engines will be throttled to 92 percent of full power.

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