The Falcon Heavy's first stage was successfully tested past year, but the static fire test marked the first time the full compliment of the rocket's engines has been tested. American Eastern Standard Time for about 10 seconds, spewing violent exhaust and steam, a video on SpaceX's official twitter showed.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, confirmed that there will be a launch date for the Falcon Heavy rocket, "in a week or so", after running a test on all 27 engines on the massive spacecraft. Generated quite a thunderhead of steam. The first flight has been delayed by several years.
Although the February 6 date should be treated as an aspiration, Falcon Heavy is closer than ever before to its first launch, an event that will be quickly followed by the near-simultaneous landings of three first stage boosters - two by land, one by sea.
SpaceX is known for its lofty goals when it comes to timescales and its rocket launches, particularly when it comes to the Falcon Heavy. It will take off from launchpad 39A, which once launched Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.
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The long-anticipated test flight will carry up a Tesla Roadster belonging to Musk, who heads both the rocket and electric vehicle companies.
The first payload for the Falcon Heavy, however, is just a fun one. But Musk's confirmation gives us something to look forward to that's far more specific. That's three times as many engines as are on SpaceX's current workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9. "Easy viewing from the public causeway", Musk tweeted Saturday afternoon.
For those watching the premiere flight from the Space Coast, SpaceX's plans to return all three boosters back to Earth should produce impressive visuals.
"I love the thought of a auto drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future".