Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

SpaceX targeting late January for Falcon Heavy debut

SpaceX targeting late January for Falcon Heavy debut

Like any proud creator, SpaceX heavily documented the moment, unveiling the fully upright, fully assembled Falcon Heavy in all its glory sitting on a Florida launch pad and ready for its so-called fit test.

SpaceX shared the below video of the beastly spacecraft on Twitter and Instagram, commenting: "With more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff-equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power-Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two".

A launch this week of a closely guarded payload by SpaceX will mark the first 2018 mission for the Elon Musk-led space company, as well as its return to military defense contracts. Since the first Falcon Heavy will soon be in space or in pieces, the company has done a neat little drone flyby to commemorate the first launch attempt. Its huge capacity is the largest since the Apollo lunar program's Saturn V rocket.

The Tesla Roadster prepped for launch
The Tesla Roadster prepped for

The previous year the United States stood exclusively atop the list of orbital launches was a sad one.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is gearing up to launch the highly secretive "Zuma" satellite - a mysterious payload commissioned by an undisclosed branch of the U.S. government.

Musk has been a little vague about the rocket's destination, perhaps intentionally.

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SpaceX does have some customers for the Falcon Heavy queuing up, however. That failure put the program on halt for almost 3 months but in the coming year China is looking at as many as 40 launches, with the pièce de résistance being an attempt at a landing on the Moon in May or June. In December, Musk announced the rocket would carry his own Tesla Roadster sports auto on a trajectory that would take it past the planet Mars. He's also a 47-year space industry veteran.

The mission marks SpaceX's most ambitious project to date.

The rocket has been rolled by the company, and it presently features three Falcon 9 first stages that are mounted sidewise. Inside that cone-shaped faring rests Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster.

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The Falcon Heavy rocket sits on its launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage".

It was last in the year 2002 that the USA led the number of space launches, but following the Columbia disaster, Russian Federation topped the list every year from 2003 to 2015.

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