SpaceX Proudly Displays Falcon Heavy Rocket On LC-39A Launchpad For Static Fire Tests
While the Falcon Heavy looks like its primed for its maiden flight, it is actually being physically restrained on the pad for static fire tests. During these tests, the Falcon Heavy's 27 Merlin engines will be fired to monitor their performance (hopefully there will be no Space Camp-esque hijinks during the test).
5 million pounds of thrust is at Falcon Heavy's command due to the fact that it consists of three Falcon 9 cores strapped together (each with 9 Merlin engines). According to SpaceX, this will be the most powerful rocket in operation once it begins routine missions, but it still falls short on total power of the almighty Saturn V.
If the static fire testing goes as scheduled, that should set in motion SpaceX's plans to actually perform the maiden launch of Falcon Heavy. Given that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk doesn't expect a high chance of success for the first launch, there won't be any commercial or military payloads onboard on its debut flight. Instead, SpaceX loaded up a first-generation Tesla Roadster into the Falcon Heavy's nose cone to send it to where no man has gone before.
Until then, check out this cool flyby video of Falcon Heavy resting at its new home in Cape Canaveral:
With more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff—equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power—Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. https://t.co/NneqPRPr46 pic.twitter.com/oswCUreG6i— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 3, 2018