Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two, with the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)--a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.
Falcon Heavy's first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit.
WHAT IS THE FALCON HEAVY?
The essence of the rocket is right there in its name: it’s the heavy-lift version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The vehicle consists of three Falcon 9 cores strapped together, giving the rocket an awesome amount of power. And since each Falcon 9 has nine main rocket engines, there are 27 total engines that will all be used to send this vehicle to space. No other working rocket has ever used so many.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT’S SUCCESSFUL?
Then the Falcon Heavy has some more flights scheduled. The vehicle is booked to a put up a large communications satellite for operator Arabsat of Saudi Arabia sometime in early 2018. And the Falcon Heavy is also slated to launch a test payload for the US Air Force no earlier than June. That launch will allow the Air Force to judge whether or not the Falcon Heavy is ready to fly national security payloads, which could become a big market for the vehicle. The flight will also contain a cluster of secondary satellites, too, including a special test spacecraft from the Planetary Society called LightSail. The probe is designed to deploy a large, thin sail that uses radiation from the Sun to propel through space.
WHERE IS IT LAUNCHING FROM?
The Falcon Heavy is taking off from a historic launch site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, called LC-39A. The site was used to launch the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon as well as numerous Space Shuttle missions — including the final Shuttle launch. In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year lease with NASA to use the pad at 39A for the company’s flights, and it has since modified the site to accommodate launches of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.
Source: SpaceX, The Verge, Samratinvestment.com