SpaceX Falcon Heavy warms up LC-39A during static test fire

Aboard the flight will be a whimsical cross-promotional payload for Musk — a cherry red Roadster built by his other business Tesla

SpaceX Falcon Heavy fired 27 engines, on Wednesday with the 39A launching pad at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The company didn't immediately release details about the test, including the precise length of the static fire and the performance of the 27 Merlin engines in the three boosters.

The Falcon Heavy's maximum thrust at liftoff is 5.1 million pounds or 2,300 metric tons (MT). This morning's static fire test is a vital stepping stone to its upcoming maiden launch, and according to CEO Elon Musk, it went off without a hitch. No rocket with three cores and so many engines has successfully launched from Earth before.

There is a question as to how many big ("heavy") rockets are needed to meet expected demand. But with this successful test, long-suffering space fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief, and their collective sigh will last about as long as the static fire: only a few seconds. More generally, Falcon Heavy's payload capabilities and sheer thrust make the vehicle second in power only to Saturn V in the USA, and worldwide fourth, behind Saturn V and the Soviet Union's N-1 and Energia launch vehicles.

Originally, SpaceX planned to use the Falcon Heavy to send people to Mars in a Dragon capsule.

More news: Apple may discontinue iPhone X within a year of launch, says analyst

Aboard the demonstration flight, which may take off in the weeks ahead, will be a whimsical, cross-promotional payload for Musk - a cherry red Roadster built by his other business, the electric carmaker Tesla. SpaceX's new rocket will produce more thrust than any launch vehicle since the space shuttle.

When its first stage boosters are not recovered, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will be capable of delivering up to 140,660 pounds (63,800 kilograms) to low Earth orbit when launched to the east from Florida's Space Coast, where rockets get a velocity boost from Earth's rotation. That seemed extremely boring, ' Musk said in December. If successful, his red sports vehicle will end up in orbit around the sun, travelling as far out as Mars.

It was reported that the "secret spy satellite" failed to maintain its orbit after detaching from SpaceX's rocket.

This year will be a busy one for SpaceX, which is aiming for more than 30 flights. There is "a real good chance that that vehicle does not make it to orbit", Musk said in his July remarks. I want to make sure to set expectations accordingly'. "I would consider even that a win".

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