In 2011, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first announced his plan to create a heavy carrier rocket. The launch of the device was postponed for 5 years, and only in 2018 this idea was brought to life. We’ll tell you what’s so special about Falcon Heavy and what are the results of its launch.
The main idea of the rocket is in its name: basically, it’s a heavier model of the Falcon 9. It consists of three connected accelerators. This structure gives the rocket a huge lifting power. If the first stage of the Falcon 9 had nine engines, their total number in the new rocket is 27. This is the first in history example of a carrier rocket with so many engines.
The rocket develops 2.27 million kilograms of propulsive power at launch. This allows putting almost 64 kg of cargo into near-earth orbit. Roughly speaking, the more power the device has, the more it can deliver to space. Falcon Heavy power is the most impressive one among all existing carrier rockets.
The cost of launching Heavy is about $90 million. This is a relatively low price for this type of rocket. For example, the launch of the next in power Delta IV Heavy will cost $350 million, according to the manufacturer and developer United Launch Alliance. Besides, this rocket can send into orbit only ½ of the cargo Falcon Heavy can.
The test flight was postponed for 5 years due to the complex structure of the craft. But on February 6 at 22:45, Falcon Heavy was successfully launched.
The company managed to successfully launch the rocket, and land two side accelerators on the LZ-1 and LZ-2 platforms of Kennedy Space Center. By the way, they were already sent to space prior to this.
There is no information about the main SpaceX stage, as of now. Representatives of the company did not confirm a successful landing. It is known that the craft successfully re-started the engines for the landing, but in the process, communication with the device was lost.
Since this was a test launch, there was no serious cargo. But Elon could not perform this important event in the history of the space industry without a twist. A Tesla Roadster car was placed under the spacecraft nose cone, with an astronaut mannequin in a SpaceX space suit “driving” it. During the launch, the car speakers were playing a David Bowie’s Life on Mars. Among other features – a special panel with names of all employees of the company underneath the electric car.
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