SpaceX created history today. The iconic Falcon Heavy rocket of the company finally stands tall on the launchpad, all set to roll. This rocket is the most powerful built ever since the Saturn V rocket, which was sent off about 50 years ago for the Apollo mission.
The company shared the images of the Falcon Heavy rocket, standing upright on the Kennedy Space Center's launchpad, in its Flickr account. The popular cherry red colored Tesla Roadster of the SpaceX boss Elon Musk was also seen in the picture, stored inside the rocket as the payload.
"Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring. Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel. The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit," Musk had written in his Instagram account a few days ago.
Musk, known for his out-of-the-box ideas, had first shared the idea of sending his midnight-cherry-red Tesla Roadster car into space early in December via Twitter.
Incidentally, the most powerful rocket of the world will be taking off from the same launchpad, which was the Saturn V rocket's launchpad in the past. The mission is scheduled to liftoff this month.
Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy rocket is going to change earth's future missions for Mars exploration. The rocket has been developed to one day carry humans to the Red Planet. It is basically a combination of "three Falcon 9 first stages," which have been fastened together at the base and at the top of the center core's liquid oxygen tank. The three cores, with a total of 27 Merlin engines, generate 22,819 kilonewtons (5.13 million pounds) of thrust at liftoff. After liftoff the center core engines are throttled down and the side cores separate, while the center core engines throttle back up to full thrust.
A second stage has been built-in over the middle one's top. Each of them contains nine engines, which would act collectively and generate a thrust of maximum 5.1 million pounds, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. While one of the first stages is supposed to land on the droneship, the other two are supposed to come back to the space base,if they don't explode midway..
When Falcon Heavy lifts off this month, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world with the ability to lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb)--a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel--Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost, said the company on its website.
Falcon Heavy has been designed to minimize stage separation events. The second-stage Merlin engine, identical to Falcon 9 rocket, lofts off payload to orbit after the main engines cut off and the first-stage cores separate. The engine can be restarted multiple times to place payloads into a variety of orbits including low Earth, geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and geosynchronous orbit (GSO).