SpaceX Company for the last 4 years promises to launch its heavy Falcon Heavy rocket. And it looks like we've waited. The other day the company published a video in Twitter that can say that this system is almost ready for its first flight. On the video you can see how the static test of the main engine of the first stage Falcon Heavy is going on at the testing ground in McGregor, Texas, USA. The tests took place at the end of last week.
The Falcon Heavy booster is essentially an ordinary Falcon 9 rocket with increased power, in total approximately equal to the power of the three conventional Falcon 9 engines. The claimed performance allows the accelerator to generate more thrust, generally increasing the carrying capacity of the launch vehicle. In SpaceX note that at the moment Falcon Heavy will be able to bring to Earth orbit more than 22,000 kilograms of payload. Ideally, a heavy version of Falcon 9 will be able to output a low-Earth orbit payload of up to 63.5 thousand kilograms. And when launching to Mars, its carrying capacity will be about 17 thousand kilograms. Next year, the company plans to use Falcon Heavy for a manned flight around the moon (two private individuals will fly, information about which has not been disclosed yet). To Mars, Falcon Heavy will have to go to 2020.
As Ilon Mask himself points out, the power of the two main engines of Falcon Heavy is almost equivalent to the power of one Falcon 9 engine, but the third engine of the heavy version has increased traction, and also uses "additional equipment". In other words, the main engine of Falcon Heavy has only one, and the remaining two are used as auxiliary ones.
Despite the fact that Falcon Heavy looks very similar to its more compact version of Falcon 9, both launch vehicles are very different. And apparently, last week's test of the main engine Falcon Heavy proved to be very important in terms of checking its operational and technical characteristics.
For the fans of SpaceX, the news of the trials should be a good occasion for joy. After all, for the first time Mask in 2011 promised that the debut of Falcon Heavy will be held in 2013. Since then, the first launch has been repeatedly postponed, and several incidents of unpleasant incidents have strongly pushed the expected start into the background. Right now, SpaceX is targeting the unmanned launch of Falcon Heavy in late summer. Launch Pad Launch Pad 39A will start the launcher. Recall that from this historic site at the Kennedy Space Center, a manned launch to the Moon was made. The fact that the main rocket accelerator has been tested can be an excellent indication that the launch can happen precisely at the time it is (currently) planned.