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Space & Astronomy

First images of Falcon Heavy rocket revealed

By T.K. Randall
December 21, 2017 · Comment icon 18 comments

The impressive rocket is undergoing final testing. Image Credit: SpaceX / Elon Musk
SpaceX has unveiled images of the 'world's most powerful rocket' ahead of its maiden voyage next month.
The Falcon Heavy, which consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 rocket core with two additional Falcon 9 boosters on either side, is the company's first super heavy-lift launch vehicle and will be capable of carrying payloads, not only in to orbit, but also to the Moon and even to Mars.

Like the Falcon 9, each of the boosters are reusable and will land again after each launch.

The rocket is currently undergoing final testing ahead of its inaugural launch next month which, in a peculiar move, will see Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster placed in to orbit around Mars.
There are also plans to send two tourists on a trip around the Moon before the end of next year.

Some additional images posted up on Musk's Twitter account can be viewed below.

Source: Tech Crunch | Comments (18)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
Most first flights of launch vehicles do not carry paying payloads due to the high risk of launch failure. In order for the launch to be a meaningful test of the vehicle they need to carry some sort of ballast approximating the mass of a payload. Sometimes this is a satellite, usually for a research organisation such as a university, given a free ride on the understanding that it has a good chance of failure. Just as often the vehicle will carry a dummy payload (concrete weights have been used as ballast). A good example of this is the recent (only partially successful) launch of Rocket Labs E... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Yep they say they do but an article is an article.. i just don't see the grid fins on the center booster while on the side booster they are clearly in place and visible. Found it quite strange. Do someone know if they use another control surface for the center stage ?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Haroldbattschits 5 years ago
I think it's awesome that the guy who built the thing gets to decide what to send up with it on its madden voyage. Of course it's a publicity stunt, what's wrong with that? This genius not only built a car company from scratch, he did it in a completely new way with new technology that actually reduced the costs of EV's. Now we use his reusable rocket boosters to resupply the ISS! Unlike NASA, or the Soviet Union, you can actually trace the entire history of Space X to a single individual. Impressive. Launch whatever the hell you want to launch
Comment icon #12 Posted by Haroldbattschits 5 years ago
And yes, I'm quite aware that he is not personally responsible for the actual engineering of certain aspects of his rockets and cars, but one man put all of the pieces together. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
The grid fins are there, they are painted white on the core booster.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Derek Willis 5 years ago
On one level, launching a Tesla car into Earth orbit is fine by me. However, should we really be adding unnecessary "junk" into orbit? The article also mentions that the plan is to place the Tesla in orbit around Mars. I don't know if this is seriously the intention. To me that is somewhat irreverent. Also, if the car were to accidentally impact on the surface, some parts might withstand the flight through the atmosphere. So, has the car been sterilized to prevent contamination? I am wondering if the mention of the Tesla car is entirely a publicity stunt?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Derek Willis 5 years ago
Well spotted! The launch and recovery of the boosters - assuming all goes to plan - is going to be spectacular! 
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 years ago
It's not being launched into Earth orbit, it's being launched on an escape trajectory so that it will enter heliocentric orbit, where it shouldn't be a problem.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Derek Willis 5 years ago
I see that now. I am assuming the initial Earth orbit will be low so that if the upper-stage doesn't reignite, the whole thing - Tesla included - will re-enter pretty quickly and burn up. Unless, of course, the upper-stage will simply continue burning until escape velocity is reached. 
Comment icon #18 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Oh cool ! Thx !  It will be so cool if they film it like the other flights ! Bu it's Musk so they will !

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