SpaceX builds the most powerful rocket in the world
SpaceX is set to test launch what it is calling the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Called the Falcon Heavy, the rocket will be launched from SpaceX's launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the rocket, if successful, will go at a speed of 11 km/sec on "a billion-year journey through deep space," even looping in Mars.
The test launch will not have any humans inside the rocket, but the company will set up a mannequin on board. Called 'Starman in Roadster,' the mannequin will be wearing a spacesuit and will be seated inside a dummy of Musk's cherry red Tesla car. Further, English singer David Bowie's hit song 'Space Oddity' will be played in the car during the launch.
However, Musk reasserted that there is a good chance the test launch will fail. "I would consider it a win if it just clears the pad and doesn't blow the pad to smithereens," he said. He also warned that when the rocket will come close to Mars during its journey, "there is a tiny, tiny chance that it will hit Mars."
The Falcon Heavy is being called the most powerful rocket by a factor of two, because it can reportedly lift over twice the payload of the Delta IV Heavy, which is the next closest most powerful rocket in operation. Further, while the Delta IV Heavy reportedly costs about $350 million per launch, the Falcon Heavy can complete a single mission in around $90 million.
The Falcon Heavy combines the powers of SpaceX's three Falcon 9 rockets into one and features a total of 27 Merlin engines. According to SpaceX, "These engines together generate more than five million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft." The rocket is 230 feet in height and can carry about 141,000 pounds of payload.