Friday, 19 April, 2019

Falcon Heavy completes static fire test ahead of Tuesday launch

The Falcon Heavy Demo rocket performing its 12-second static fire at LC-39A The Falcon Heavy Demo rocket performing its 12-second static fire at LC-39A
Cary Marshall | 08 April, 2019, 15:22

The first commercial launch of the Falcon Heavy, the world's most powerful rocket, is expected to draw 100,000 or more spectators to the Space Coast.

There's still no official word from SpaceX or Elon Musk, but a source at NASA tells FOX 35 the static fire test for the Falcon Heavy has been scrapped, at least for Thursday night.Space fans set up shop in Canaveral National Seashore Thursday afternoon hoping for the flawless shot of the static test fire for the Falcon Heavy rocket. This can not be done with the Falcon Heavy because igniting all 27 engines at the same time would create extreme loads on the rocket and launch platform.

SpaceX announced the date as a target but without a specific launch window after a static fire test of the rocket was completed at noon Friday.

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) confirmed the plans in a statement last month before the exact launch date had been set.

Arabsat-6A is a Saudi Arabian geostationary communications satellite that was built by Lockheed Martin and is based off of the A2100 bus.

Falcon Heavy will be even more powerful this time around, with a maximum thrust of 2,550 tons, according to Musk - or about 10 percent higher than last year's demo. The rocket was going to carry an Arabsat 6A communications satellite into the orbit, to expand the communication coverage and improve television, internet and telephone services in Africa and the Middle East.

More news: FINALLY IT’S COMING! PM Narendra Modi To Hit Theatres On April 11

The launch will be the Falcon Heavy's first commercial mission, marking an important step forward for its potential use in the future.

Falcon Heavy is expected to launch at 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) on Tuesday.

The rocket boasts three reusable cores, each containing nine Merlin engines for a whopping total of 27.

At the moment, it appears far more likely that the rocket will launch sometime between April 8th and 11th.

Onlookers got a taste of that increased performance today as the rocket's 27 first-stage engines fired in unison for a few seconds.

When fully fuelled, it weighed 2.8 million kilograms (6.2 million pounds) - the weight of about 400 elephants. Only two of Heavy's core rocket stages landed successfully following the big demonstration launch past year.

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