SpaceX makes history with Falcon Heavy | Satellite | News | Rapid TV News
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
Space X Falcon Heavy onpad 7 February 2018
The world’s most powerful rocket, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, has successfully blasted into space for its maiden flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The spacecraft, which carried as its first payload a Tesla car and Starman mannequin playing a David Bowie song on repeat, is essentially three Space X Falcon 9 rockets bolted together. Together, they are twice as powerful as the nearest competitor, the Delta IV Heavy and can carry a maximum payload to low-Earth orbit of 64 tonnes.

Two of the Falcon Heavy’s three boost stages – the lower cores of the rocket – returned to Earth to make controlled landings. The outer two headed back to Cape Canaveral to touch down at SpaceX’s concrete landing pads on the coast shortly after the launch. Unfortunately the centre stage, which was set to land on one of SpaceX’s drone ships in the Atlantic, was destroyed on impact in the ocean, having run out of propellant to slow its descent.

The reusability of the landed stages will enable Space X to offer satellite launches at a third of the cost of its competitors. Indeed, the outer cores of the Falcon Heavy have reportedly already been used, with one used to launch a satellite for Thaicom in May 2016.

The Falcon Heavy is already scheduled to deliver a large communications satellite for Middle East operator Arabsat in 2018, with other satellites for Inmarsat and Viasat expected to follow.

In 2011, Space X founder and CEO Elon Musk first announced the company would achieve this launch. After seven years of development, the company has achieved what is being called a game changer in the spacecraft industry.

“It'll be like trying to sell an aircraft where one aircraft company has a reusable aircraft and all the other companies had aircraft that were single-use where you would parachute out at your destination and the plane would crash-land randomly somewhere. Crazy as that sounds - that's how the rocket business works," Musk told reporters after the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Prior to the launch, its success was put at 50:50 by the billionaire Space X CEO.

“I had this image of just a giant explosion on the pad, a wheel bouncing down the road. But fortunately that's not what happened,” Musk said.

The Tesla and its mannequin driver has now been delivered into an elliptical orbit around the sun, which they are expected to remain orbiting for hundreds of millions of years. ‘Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt’ Musk tweeted, about seven hours after launch.