Recently, the head of SpaceX, Ilon Mask, announced that
he was going to launch the Falcon Heavy heavy carrier rocket as early as November of this year. Actually, the fact that Falcon Heavy will fly this year, Musk spoke several times, and now it seems that SpaceX has finally decided on a date.
About the rocket itself has long been known for more than five years. But here the terms of its development are stretched, and the date of the first flight is constantly postponed. Initially, Falcon Heavy
was supposed to fly into space in 2013. Then, for various reasons, the deadlines were repeatedly shifted. Sometimes this was really due to serious factors like the crash
when the Falcon 9 took off in 2015. But now, as far as can be judged, the rocket will actually fly in November.
The most interesting thing is that Ilon Musk is not at all sure of the successful launch of his brainchild. Moreover, he believes that during takeoff, the probability of an explosion is high. The fact is that in the Falcon Heavy rocket, 27 engines were installed at once, and all of them should work synchronously. If something goes wrong, and according to Mask himself, here “a lot of things can go wrong”, the rocket will not take off at best, the launch will be stopped, and at worst it will explode at the moment of takeoff or flight in the atmosphere.
But even if this happens, Musk says he will not be disappointed. Indeed, in cosmonautics, as nowhere else, a negative result, failure, helps developers to identify the weak point of the structure and solve the problem before it leads to the death of people. Namely, the Falcon Heavy Mask places significant hopes - after all, this rocket, according to the plan, will serve as a vehicle for sending people and cargo into deep space. The entrepreneur complains that not all the weaknesses of the structure can be experienced on Earth. He argues that the design features of the rocket, which is made up of three Falcon 9, are in fact more complicated than originally intended.
The rocket will be able to bring about 64 tons of payload into low Earth orbit, and Falcon Heavy is able to carry almost 17 tons to Mars. As accelerators, the first three steps of the Falcon 9 Full Thrust are used here. At the very beginning of the flight, side accelerators are activated (this is done to save rocket fuel in the tanks of the first stage), and then, after undocking of the side accelerators, the engines of the first stage will start. Musk claims that all these elements can be reused - they are reusable. Working out the landing steps of the Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX carried out repeatedly, so most likely there would be no problem with this in the case of the 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 talked
about where and how it will plant the spent stages of its heavy launch vehicle. Why return them 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 fulfill the tasks of NASA and USAF,” says the SpaceX document. "Our actions must meet US expectations that the delivery of cargo into space can be reduced, which will make the study of outer space more accessible."
Earlier in SpaceX, it was decided to abandon the use for landing in the company being developed by the manned ship Dragon 2 SuperDraco engines. The fact is that if you work with them, you would have to go through the NASA certification process, which is very complicated.
The use of Falcon Heavy and Dragon 2 in full force, and not for tests, is expected next year. Namely, to send tourists to deep space. Earlier it was reported
that two people expressed a desire to make a flight around the moon, with a flight duration of about a week. These two people are serious businessmen (their personalities are not revealed), and they have already made a
large deposit into the SpaceX account.
Falcon Heavy is scheduled to launch from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. If everything goes according to plan, then soon Mask must tell you exactly when the launch will take place - after all, until November there is nothing left.