SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will be launched into its maiden flight already in November this year, claims CEO of SpaceX.
SpaceX latest heavy rocket, Falcon Heavy, remains at assembly facility at LC-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Rocket is almost finished with all three boosters completed in assembly facility, what was confirmed during show for press few weeks ago. Rocket, which is basically tripled booster of Falcon-9FT with upper stage with larger payload fairing, was planned as heavy launch vehicle able to deliver 2.5 times more cargo comparing to Falcon-9 (Falcon-9 is able to deliver over 22 t t to LEO). Powered by 27 Merlin-1D engines rocket was also considered as potential launch vehicle for Red Dragon spacecraft, which could reach Mars with robotic exploration mission. As last week ability of engine landing of the Red Dragon was put under the question by Elon Musk, Falcon Heavy probably will be used mainly for ordinary cargo missions.
On his social media profile on last Thursday, July 27, Elon Musk confirmed that first flight of the Falcon Heavy will be performed before end of 2017, probably in November from LC-39A Launch Pad. It means, that work focused on recovering LC-40 at Cape Canaveral after disaster of Falcon-9 with Amos-6 on September 1 last year, are entering in their last phase – without operational LC-40, SpaceX would not be able to prepare first mission of Falcon Heavy from LC-39A. In spite of Florida, Falcon Heavy will be also launched from California, from LC-4 Launch Site at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Demonstration mission of the Falcon Heavy will not cover delivering any payload to orbit. First commercial missions were scheduled for first half of the 2018 from Kennedy Space Center. Payloads planned to be delivered to orbit were contracted by both commercial and Department of Defense.