A recent tweet from Elon Musk shows new photos of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
A Long and Difficult Road
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket is set to be one of the most powerful rockets in history, capable of lifting more than 140000 pounds of cargo into lower Earth orbit. As one of the few non-governmental companies working on space travel, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has made the news time and time again for their success with repeated launches into outer space. In fact, their reputation is so reliable that NASA has tasked the company with an important resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The construction of the Falcon Heavy rocket has been plagued by issues, however, and progress on many of SpaceX’s projects halted after a catastrophic explosion on one of their launch pads back in 2016. Since that time, the company has been using a NASA pad at the Kennedy Space Center, which has since been modified to accommodate bigger equipment like the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Moving forward, the Falcon Heavy launches are set to occur at the Kennedy Space Center despite the 50 million dollar renovation to the damaged pad in Cape Canaveral.
However, this most recent photo, included below, seems to suggest that construction of the rocket is moving along swimmingly. From what we can tell, the biggest pieces missing from the rocket seem to be the payload and the nose cone at the top. With a launch date set for sometime in January, the company will have to push ahead quickly if they’d like to get the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in the air on schedule.
Falcon Heavy at the Cape pic.twitter.com/hizfDVsU7X
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2017
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket
The Falcon Heavy is made up of three different Falcon 9 cores that are strapped together. These cores are intended to be reusable and will return to earth after launch to be used for other missions. In an industry where a lot of equipment is both exorbitantly expensive as well as single-use, having a rocket that can be used multiple times is a major boon. The cores used in this launch have also previously flown Falcon 9 boosters, so the technology is tried and true.
Although things are looking good for the upcoming launch, considering all the issues that the company has encountered getting to this point, Elon Musk has kept his expectations realistic.
“I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage…I would consider even that a win, to be honest.”
Obviously, pad damage is a major concern considering the huge amount that the company just sank into the repairs and renovations of their launch site, but previous launches seem to suggest that the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket has the technology behind it that it needs to succeed.
With a planned launch in January, it won’t be too long until we find out whether this rocket really has what it takes to bring such a large payload into orbit. Whether or not it succeeds, it’s clear that SpaceX will continue to be at the forefront of space travel innovation.