The other day the head of SpaceX company Ilon Mask announced that he is going to launch a heavy rocket carrier Falcon Heavy already in November this year. Actually, the fact that Falcon Heavy will fly this year, Mask spoke several times, and now, it seems, in SpaceX finally decided on the date.
The rocket itself has been known for a long time, more than five years. But the terms of its development are stretched, and the date of the first flight is constantly postponed. Initially, Falcon Heavy was to fly into space in 2013. Then, for various reasons, the terms were repeatedly shifted. Sometimes it really happened because of serious factors like the crash in the take-off of Falcon 9 in 2015. But now, as far as can be judged, the missile will really go on a flight in November.
The most interesting is that Ilon Mask is not at all sure of the successful launch of his brainchild. Moreover, he believes that when taking off, the probability of an explosion is high. The fact is that in the Falcon Heavy rocket 27 engines are installed at once, and all of them should work synchronously. If something goes wrong, and according to the expression of the Mask itself, here "a lot of things can go wrong", the missile at best will simply not take off, the launch will be stopped, and at worst it will explode at the moment of take-off or flight in the atmosphere.
But even if this happens, Mask says that he will not be disappointed. After all, in cosmonautics, as nowhere, a negative result, failure, helps developers to identify the weak point of the design and solve the problem before it leads to the death of people. Namely, the Falcon Heavy Mask has significant hopes – in fact this missile, according to the plan will serve as a vehicle for sending people and cargo to the outer space. The entrepreneur complains that not all weaknesses in the construction can be experienced on Earth. He claims that the structural features of the missile, which is made up of three Falcon 9, are in fact more complex than originally thought.
The rocket will be able to bring to Earth's low orbit about 64 tons of payload, and to Mars, Falcon Heavy is able to deliver almost 17 tons. As accelerators, the first three stages of Falcon 9 Full Thrust are used here. At the very beginning of the flight, lateral accelerators are activated (this is done to save rocket fuel in the tanks of the first stage), and then, after undocking the lateral accelerators, the first-stage engines will start up. Mask claims that all these elements can be reused – they are reusable. The company SpaceX conducted the landing of the Falcon 9 stages several times, so, most likely, there will not be a problem with this in the case of Falcon Heavy – if only the rocket took off and went into space, and there, as they say, the matter of technology.
In January of this year, SpaceX Company told about where and how the spent stages of its heavy carrier rocket will be planted. Why should they be returned to Earth at all? As in the case of the Falcon 9, SpaceX in this case plans to reduce the cost of launches, and the cost reduction will be very significant. "This will help the company carry out the tasks of NASA and USAF," the document says. "Our actions must comply with the expectations of the United States that the delivery of cargo to space can be reduced, which will make it more accessible to study outer space."
Previously, in SpaceX, it was decided not to use the SuperDraco engines for the landing in the Dragon 2 manned spacecraft. The fact is that, provided they work with them, the NASA certification process would have to pass, which is very difficult.
Use Falcon Heavy and Dragon 2 in full force, not for tests, is expected as early as next year. Namely, for sending to deep space tourists. Earlier it was reported that two people expressed a desire to fly around the moon, with a flight duration of about a week. These two people are serious businessmen (their personalities are not disclosed), and they have already deposited a large deposit into the account of SpaceX.
Falcon Heavy is scheduled to be launched from the launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. If everything goes according to plan, then soon Mask should tell when exactly the launch will take place – there is nothing left until November