After years of waiting, it's going to be at least a couple of more weeks before SpaceX debuts the world's new most powerful rocket, dubbed Falcon Heavy. The demonstration launch has been pushed back to late January, company founder Elon Musk said Thursday, before reiterating that he isn't positive it will go well.
"Excitement on launch day guaranteed, one way or another," Musk wrote in an Instagram post.
Falcon Heavy now vertical on the former Apollo 11 moon rocket launchpad. At 2500 tons of thrust, equal to 18 Boeing 747 aircraft at full throttle, it will be the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two. Excitement on launch day guaranteed, one way or another. Hold-down test fire next week. Launch end of the month.
Musk means that if the launch fails, the Falcon Heavy, currently standing at the Florida launch pad where Apollo astronauts began the first journey to the moon, could end up in a massive explosion over the Atlantic Ocean.
"There's a lot of risk associated with Falcon Heavy," Musk said at a conference in 2017. "Real good chance that the vehicle doesn't make it to orbit."
On the other hand, if the launch is successful, we'll see Musk launch his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster toward Mars followed by another spectacular first: SpaceX will attempt to simultaneously land and recover all three of the Falcon Heavy's first-stage rocket cores.
Of course, it's also possible the launch will be successful but all three landings may not be pulled off. This means we may get to see smaller explosions at either the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station landing pads where two of the cores will attempt landing, or on the offshore droneship the third will target.
Before Falcon Heavy can lift off for the first time, SpaceX hopes to complete a successful launch of a top secret US government spacecraft known only as "Zuma." That mission has been delayed multiple times since November but is currently set for Sunday.
Meanwhile, Heavy has already been rolled out to the launch pad and is being prepared for a static-fire test in advance of its long-awaited debut, where a spectacular show is all but guaranteed.
The success of Falcon Heavy is a key stepping stone in Musk's master plan to eventually colonize Mars. The successor rocket to Heavy will be the so-called "BFR" capable of sending loads of potential colonists to the red planet.
It's a whole new world, literally. Stay tuned.
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