Washington, Feb 5 (IANS) The much awaited first flight of SpaceX’s new heavy-lift rocket, Falcon Heavy, is set to take place on Tuesday, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, has said.
“Falcon Heavy remains go for launch at 1.30 pm on Tuesday,” Musk said in a tweet on Monday.
When Falcon Heavy lifts off from NASA’s historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.
The pad that hoisted men to the Moon almost 50 years ago underwent modifications by SpaceX to adapt it to the needs of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.
“Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on February 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy,” Musk had tweeted late in January.
The Falcon Heavy is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds (2.3 million kg) of thrust at liftoff, equal to about eighteen 747 aircraft.
Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit.
Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars, according to SpaceX.