Thanks to our Aviation News Scout Jerry Dixon and SpaceX for this latest news release.
Following its first test launch, Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.
Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.
The above launch video is 34:18 in length, so if you don’t have the time to watch the entire film, simply fast forward to about 21:00 minutes so see the actual lift off itself. Notice the innovative way that the rockets are saved for further deployments by returning them safely back to earth on their own landing pads right at Cape Canaveral. We are clearly now beginning to bear witness to the great cost savings to the taxpayers achieved by permitting private industry to compete – and run – these heretofore exclusively government run operations.