It’s a test launch that might be a new leap for the space industry. On Tuesday, SpaceX will launch a new rocket, the Falcon Heavy.
It will be the most powerful rocket in flight today, at a fraction of the cost of its rivals. CGTN’s John Zarrella reports from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It was the final hurdle before the big show. Twenty-seven engines tucked inside three boosters all powered up and running. Called a static fire, its success set the stage for the main event.
After more than six years in development, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket sat on the pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was poised for the first test flight that could dramatically alter the future of space transportation. “If we can successfully launch this, it will be such a huge new industrial capability for the United States of America to cheaply and reliably get a big piece of hardware into space,” explained Dale Ketcham, Vice President of Space Florida.
The Falcon Heavy is billed as the most powerful rocket in the world. It can muscle into orbit twice the payload of its closest competitor. “This will be the largest payload capacity since the Saturn Five,” added Ketcham.
The Falcon Heavy will lift off from Pad 39A where the Apollo astronauts launched to the moon on top their Saturn Fives.
The new vehicle is revolutionary, designed to take cargo and humans to low earth orbit and beyond, including the Moon and Mars. Because its boosters land back on earth and are re-usable, the cost to launch can be $90 million, considerably less than other rockets on the market today.
And what is the payload for this test flight? Going to Mars, a red Tesla Roadster owned by SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Every launch, people gather along this road to watch liftoff. This was no exception and when the Falcon Heavy takes off you won’t get a parking space.
Dozens of people stood along the water’s edge watching a recent liftoff of this smaller Space X Falcon 9. But the Falcon Heavy is a heavyweight attraction. Tens of thousands are expected. It’s not just a launch, it’s an event.
Therrin Protze runs the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Some event packages sold out in a day. They are expecting a crowd of 14,000. “We had some folks calling from England and Germany that are working to come out here for the launch because it’s that special,” said Protze.