With NASA’s Space Launch System rocket yet to fly, and SpaceX still preparing for the maiden flight of its next-generation Super Heavy space vehicle, the Falcon Heavy rocket the company’s remains the most powerful rocket in use today.
And it appears to be just days away from heading skyward on its fourth mission.
SpaceX is currently targeting Monday, October 31 for the launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission will deploy two classified satellites for the US Space Force.
The Falcon Heavy comprises SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket as the core stage, along with two additional Falcon 9 boosters attached to each side of the core.
At liftoff, its 27 Merlin engines combine to create more than 5 million pounds of thrust, which SpaceX says is the equivalent of about 18 Boeing 747 jets.
The Falcon Heavy made its maiden flight in 2018, deploying an unusual test payload: a Tesla Roadster owned by SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk. The side boosters jammed the landing and thus could be used again, but the center booster crashed when it hit the ground.
The second Falcon Heavy mission took place in April 2019 and deployed a rather more sensible payload: the Lockheed Martin-built Arabsat-6A communications satellite. The most notable moment of the mission was the successful landing of all three boosters, marking the first successful triple landing for SpaceX.
Falcon Heavy’s most recent mission was in June 2019 and was SpaceX’s first for the United States Department of Defense (DoD), carrying with it an extensive payload for the DoD and other customers. Like the previous flight, the two side boosters landed safely, but the center booster crashed.
On next week’s mission, the two side boosters will land at Landing Zones 1 and 2 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. However, no attempt will be made to land the central booster, which will instead go down into the ocean.
With so much power on display, the launch should be an exciting sight for those making the trip to the Space Coast or watching online. Once SpaceX confirms the launch date and time, we’ll be sure to update you.