SpaceX Performs First 'static Fire' Of Falcon Heavy Rocket

1_25_SpaceX Falcon Heavy

The world's most powerful rocket finally has a date for its debut: February 6.

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has taken another step on his road to the red planet after SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carried out a successful static fire test.

Musk tweeted out the flight is aimed for February 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy.

The Falcon Heavy rocket ignited all 27 engines of its first-stage at about 12:30 p.m. A second stage with a single engine sites atop the center core.

While a launch date is not now scheduled, SpaceX founder Elon Musk expects to launch within "a week or so". All three boosters - 27 engines in all - were tested. It's constructed by strapping three of SpaceX's proven Falcon 9 rockets together, which provides around 5 million pounds of thrust at takeoff.

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The Falcon Heavy carries the largest payload amount since the Saturn V rocket, which carried out a 310,000 pounds into space.

SpaceX expects the Falcon Heavy to eventually ferry crew and cargo between Earth and Mars. Falcon Heavy can lift the equivalent of a fully loaded 737 jetliner, complete with passengers, luggage and fuel, to orbit. The rocket is designed so that the outer cores break away during ascent and fly themselves back to SpaceX's landing zones, while the center core is to be recovered at sea.

At this time, a date for the launch hasn't been scheduled. What's more, SpaceX has scheduled a Falcon 9 launch for Luxembourg's SES-16 / GovSat-1 telecommunications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 30.

The sheer power of Falcon Heavy is eminently clear in this attractive capture by Tom Cross.

While it's of interest to us for being the first electric auto launched into space, the event is particularly interesting to the space industry for a completely different reason.

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