Falcon Heavy maiden launch this November https://t.co/D4Dxq9d6hc— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 28, 2017
Musk has previously given timeframes for Falcon Heavy’s first launch, but the company hasn’t been able to hit any of those targets. However, we’re hoping that Musk is right this time around and that Falcon Heavy will take to the skies before year’s end.
According to SpaceX, the Falcon Heavy “will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two” when it blasts off in November. It will be able to put up to 119,000 pounds of cargo into orbit, and SpaceX is aiming to undercut its aerospace rivals with regards to cost-per-pound into orbit. Once fully operational, SpaceX will allegedly be able to lift twice as much cargo into orbit than the Delta IV Heavy (its closest competitor) for one-third the cost per launch.
Falcon Heavy will be a complex beast, with three Falcon 9 cores making up its first stage. Each core has 9 Merlin engines, make for a total of 27. Having that many engines ups the complexity of the design, but should help provide fail-safes in the case of engine failure.
As with the current Falcon 9 cores, Falcon Heavy’s three-cores will all be capable of returning back to Earth to under its own power for recovery on land or at sea.