Jun 12, 2017 02:35 PM EDT
For followers of the innovative SpaceX program, each step in development is eagerly anticipated. One fan recently tweeted at SpaceX founder Elon Musk to see when (on Earth) the next stage of the Falcon Heavy project would launch.
He didn't have long to wait for an answer. In a recent tweet, Elon Musk said the highly anticipated Falcon Heavy launch is set to take place in just a few months:
All Falcon Heavy cores should be at the Cape in two to three months, so launch should happen a month after that
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 8, 2017
The SpaceX rocket will reportedly be the first ever to transport space tourists.
The new rocket is 230-foot-tall and just as powerful as three smaller Falcon 9 rockets put together – that’s enough kickback to launch a fully loaded 737 jet into orbit.
Falcon Heavy was initially set to launch in March, but due several mishaps, including an explosion, an investigation, and a temporary stand-down, the giant rocket’s launch was pushed back.
According to Musk, the team at SpaceX will strap two previously launched Falcon 9 boosters to the side of a new central core rocket before the launch.
“Falcon Heavy is one of those things that at first it sounded easy,” Musk told Space News. “We’ll just take two first stages and use them as strap-on boosters. And like, actually no, this is crazy hard, and required a redesign of the center core, and a ton of additional hardware. It was actually shockingly difficult to go from a single core to a triple-core vehicle.”
After the launch, the two side rockets should fall away and land safely at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to be refurbished and reused for a future launch. The central core will then continue flying only to detach itself from an upper-stage rocket, which should blast a payload into orbit, ultimately falling back towards Earth to be recovered for reuse.
Considering almost all rocket parts in history have come back to Earth mangles, Musk’s mission is quite ambitious. But, even he says he’s well aware of the stakes.
"We will probably fly something really silly on Falcon Heavy because it is quite a high-risk mission," Musk said.
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