On Wednesday, January 24, SpaceX announced that it has successfully test-fired the 27 Merlin engines of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
SpaceX is competing with Boeing to be the first to send Americans into orbit from USA soil again, something that hasn't happened since NASA's last shuttle flight.
"I think we might be able to do short hopper flights with the spaceship part of BFR, maybe next year", says Musk.
The head of SpaceX compared the Falcon Heavy architecture with modern computer systems used by Google or Amazon, in which the failure of one device does not affect the performance of the whole system.
The billionaire CEO of SpaceX hosted a press conference after the company's Falcon Heavy rocket aced its first launch Tuesday. These engines are said to be more powerful, reliable, and efficient than their predecessors, but even with these advancements, Musk's new platform will require 31 of them to get the behemoth into the sky. "Reports that the Air Force was involved in SpaceX's recovery efforts are categorically false", wrote SpaceX communications director John Taylor in an email.
And SpaceX does have one more thing to check off its to-do list before it can focus on BFR. Reporting the event, The Washington Post noted in an article that a plenty of people gathered at the venue to watch the launch where the rocket sent up a mountain-sized plume of smoke and a rattling roar across Florida's Space Coast. According to the company, the rocket is capable of hauling more mass farther than any existing rocket - an estimated 140,000 pounds to low Earth orbit, and almost 40,000 pounds to Mars.
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The United States hasn't had a spacecraft capable of sending humans to orbit since NASA's Space Shuttle program retired in 2011. It has many private-sector uses, including communications satellites. It's worth asking what is going to happen to this electric sports vehicle condemned to what could be a billion-year elliptical journey.
But Musk said Tuesday that he's planning to hit NASA's latest target of launching astronauts on Crew Dragon by December.
Rocket recycling is the key to SpaceX's launch cost-cutting strategy.
If the Falcon Heavy is big, the Big Falcon Rocket promises to be huge.
But that doesn't mean Falcon Heavy will become a distant memory. "If we are successful, it's game over for other operators of heavy-lift rockets", said Musk prior to launch, according to the Guardian. The company said in February a year ago that the rocket would send two people on a trip around the moon, but Musk said there's been a change of plans.