Economy, Sci & Tech

Falcon Heavy Rocket on the Launch Pad

Falcon Heavy will fly Tesla Roadster toward Mars orbit.Falcon Heavy will fly Tesla Roadster toward Mars orbit.

This week, after years of delay, SpaceX founder and tech mogul Elon Musk hopes to finally launch Falcon Heavy: the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Musk originally planned to raise the 230-foot-tall, three-booster launcher in December 2012, then launch it on a maiden flight sometime in 2013. However, it took SpaceX until December 2017 to raise Falcon Heavy into launch position for the first time.

The company successfully test-fired the rocket’s 27 Merlin engines in January, clearing the way for a maiden launch that is scheduled for Tuesday, Business Insider reported.

“Amazingly, it is looking like we are going to launch tomorrow,” Musk told reporters during a phone call on Monday. “I thought for sure something would delay us, like we’d have some issue that we’d discover on the rocket, or maybe bad weather. But the weather’s looking good, the rocket’s looking good.”

Following a series of liquid fueling tests and a successful test-firing, SpaceX once again set its behemoth rocket on a horizontal carrier, wheeled it out of a nearby hangar, and inched it upward onto a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.

This time, barring any technical glitches or weather delays, Falcon Heavy will fly Musk’s own Tesla Roadster toward Mars orbit. Or perhaps it will explode into countless pieces.

“Just bear in mind that there is a good chance this monster rocket blows up,” Musk told Phil Plait, an astronomer and writer, in December. “So I wouldn’t put anything of irreplaceable sentimental value on it.”

SpaceX received a Federal Aviation Administration permit to launch Musk’s electric car on Friday.

The rocket should lift off shortly after 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday that is if thick cloud cover, strong winds, technical glitches, or other issues do not delay the launch.

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