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Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch ‘the world’s most powerful rocket’ on February 6

: Falcon Heavy is set to blast off with the billionaire’s Tesla Roadster onboard on a mission to Mars

Falcon Heavy ‘megarocket’ will fire beyond Earth’s orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre near Cape Canaveral
The test will mark the first time SpaceX has flown its new, high-capacity rocket following months of delays
Powered by 27 engines, the rocket features three re-usable cores that will return to Earth after liftoff
The main module will carry Musk’s cherry red 2008 Tesla Roadster to the orbit of Mars 140 million miles away

SpaceX will launch ‘the world’s most powerful rocket’ next week, according to the firm’s CEO Elon Musk.

The Falcon Heavy ‘megarocket’ will fire beyond Earth’s orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre near Cape Canaveral, Florida, with Musk’s own electric car on board.


The February 6 test will mark the first time the firm has flown its new, high-capacity rocket, which will allow SpaceX to send nearly far more payload into orbit than the average launch .

Powered by 27 engines, the rocket features three re-usable cores that will return to Earth after the craft reaches orbit in a flight that is set to be SpaceX’s most technically complex challenge to date.

Once the three cores separate, the rocket’s main module – carrying Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster – will continue its trajectory with a destination set for the orbit of Mars 140 million miles (225 million kilometres) away.

Musk, who is also CEO of electric car firm Tesla, tweeted the new target launch date on Saturday following months of delays, adding that a nearby causeway will provide the public with clear views of the flight.

The rocket will use 27 engines and three separate re-usable cores in what is set to be one of the firm’s most technically complex challenges to date. This image shows an artist’s impression of the rocket’s engine and core layout as viewed from below

 

 

The rocket will fire from launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre, which was used by Nasa to launch its historic Apollo 11 moon mission.

SpaceX had previously said it planned to launch the Falcon Heavy a week after the rocket’s first successful static test fire, which took place on January 24 after it was delayed by last week’s US government shutdown.

The test marked the first time the huge rocket roared to life, with all 27 of its Merlin engines fired up simultaneously at launchpad 39A.

As well as creating huge, billowing clouds of white smoke, the test fired off monstrous booms that could be heard up to three miles away.


‘Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good. Generated quite a thunderhead of steam. Launching in a week or so,’ Musk tweeted on January 24.

Last week’s static test marked the first time the rocket roared to life, with all 27 of its engines fired up simultaneously. Musk said it created a ‘thunderhead’ of steam +11

SpaceX has called the Falcon Heavy the ‘most powerful rocket in operation,’ with over 5 million pounds of thrust and the ability to lift more than 140,000 pounds of cargo.

If all goes according to plan on February 6, the Falcon Heavy will lift off and enter Earth’s orbit, at which point two of the craft’s booster rockets will separate off and return to Earth at Cape Canaveral in controlled landings.

The 70-metre- (230-foot) long rocket’s central core will then detach from the main module and begin its own controlled descent back to Earth, landing on the firm’s ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Musk has said the huge launch vehicle will blast off next week on an unmanned mission with a unique payload – the billionaire’s cherry red 2008 Tesla Roadster, which will be fired toward Mars. Pictured is the car strapped into the Falcon Heavy’s main module

The main module will continue its trajectory into ‘deep space’, the billionaire has said, with a destination set for the orbit of Mars 140 million miles (225 million kilometres) away.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING SPACEX’S FALCON HEAVY LAUNCH?
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon Heavy will lift off and enter Earth’s orbit on February 6 from from launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre near Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The rocket will use 27 engines and three separate re-usable cores in what is set to be one of the firm’s most technically complex challenges to date.

Once the Falcon Heavy enters space, two of the 70-metre- (230-foot) long craft’s booster rockets will separate off and return to Earth at Cape Canaveral in controlled landings.

The rocket’s central core will then detach from the main module and begin its own controlled descent back to Earth, landing on the firm’s ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

The main module will continue its trajectory into deep space, with a destination set for the orbit of Mars 140 million miles (225 million kilometres) away.

According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk: ‘Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.’

Musk has said his original cherry red 2008 Tesla Roadster will be strapped into the main module, playing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ from its speakers.

 

 

HOW DOES THE FALCON HEAVY MEASURE UP?
Height: 70 meters (229.6 feet)

Stages: Two

Boosters: Two

Re-usable Cores: Three

Engines: 27

Payload to Low Earth Orbit: 63,800kg (140,660 lb)

Payload to Mars: 16,800kg (37,040 lb)

Total width: 12.2m (39.9 ft)

Mass: 1,420,788kg (3,125,735 lb)

Total thrust at lift-off: 22,819 kilonewtons (5.13 million pounds)

When it launches, the Falcon Heavy (left) will be the world’s most powerful rocket, capable of carrying payloads far greater than even the Apollo 11 space shuttle (second from left)

 

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