SpaceX is scheduled to test launch what it calls the world’s most powerful rocket from Kennedy Space Center tomorrow.
CEO Elon Musk tweeted late last night that the Falcon Heavy is still a go for launch at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
It will carry a payload of his Tesla Roadster.
Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017
The plan is to put the car in orbit around Mars, although Musk says the launch is risky and the Falcon Heavy could “blow up.”
“Every time you fire a rocket engine, there is a probability that something might go wrong,” he said.
In December, Musk Tweeted: “Falcon Heavy to launch next month from Apollo 11 pad at the Cape. Will have double thrust of next largest rocket. Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another.”
First static fire test of Falcon Heavy complete—one step closer to first test flight! pic.twitter.com/EZF4JOT8e4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 24, 2018
The Falcon Heavy has a stunning 27 engines, no other working rocket has ever used so many. “It will only take one of them to blow up and produce a bad outcome,” according to a NASA engineer.
He added that rockets like this are incredibly difficult to test on the ground, so a (potentially explosive) test flight is the only way forward.
Plus the Falcon Heavy is fairly cheap: each flight of the rocket starts at just $90 million.
Musk says if the rocket does explode, he hopes it happens far away from Cape Canaveral. He also says even if the rocket does blow up, it will be a learning experience.
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