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SpaceX releases Falcon Heavy’s photo
Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has released an image of its Falcon Heavy rocket, which is expected to be used for carrying a manned Red Dragon capsule to Mars sometime in the future.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket has been anticipated for several years now. Originally, its launch was planned for 2013, but design changes and upgrades to the Falcon 9 v1.1 vehicle and the Falcon 9 Full Thrust variant forced the company to postpone the expected launch year to 2015.
However, the Falcon 9 rocket’s two launch failures within fourteen months of each other again forced the company to postpone the Falcon Heavy’s first launch to mid-2017.
The new rocket will be equipped with a Falcon 9 Full Thrust core stage booster along with two additional F9 first-stage boosters. In the photo posted by the company, it looks quite alike United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) Delta IV Heavy rocket but it will be able to lift twice as much.
Meanwhile, the Elong Musk-led company is pushing ahead with the construction of its private launch facility at Boca Chica in Texas. Media reports suggest that construction of the private launch facility is underway and a lot of work is being done late in the night or early in the morning.
The first flight from SpaceX’s this privately-owned launch facility is expected to take place no earlier than 2018.
A report published by Ars Technica informed, "The Falcon Heavy has a first stage composed of three Falcon 9 cores, which have a combined 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff from 27 Merlin engines. Some critics of the rocket have said they do not expect it to ever fly because of this complexity and have suggested that any booster relying on 27 engines to work in concert will be too unwieldy to rely upon for consistent launches."
During first stage
Three cores make up the first stage of Falcon Heavy. The side cores, or boosters, are connected at the base and at the top of the center core’s liquid oxygen tank. The three cores, with a total of 27 Merlin engines, generate 22,819 kilonewtons (5.13 million pounds) of thrust at liftoff. Shortly after liftoff the center core engines are throttled down. After the side cores separate, the center core engines throttle back up to full thrust.
During second stage
Falcon Heavy draws upon Falcon 9’s proven design, which minimizes stage separation events and maximizes reliability. The second-stage Merlin engine, identical to its counterpart on Falcon 9, delivers the rocket’s payload to orbit after the main engines cut off and the first-stage cores separate. The engine can be restarted multiple times to place payloads into a variety of orbits including low Earth, geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and geosynchronous orbit (GSO).
SpaceX informed regarding Falcon Heavy
When Falcon Heavy lifts off in 2017, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb)--a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel--Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.