More reports on: Aerospace

Musk says debut launch of Falcon Heavy rocket expected before year end

08 August 2017

The long-awaited debut launch of the triple-barreled Falcon Heavy rocket may happen before the end of the year SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk said, even as he acknowledged it came with high risk. Earlier on 4 August, he released a stunning launch and landing animation.

The original inaugural blastoff of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy is currently set for November 2017 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Musk said.

"Falcon Heavy maiden launch this November," SpaceX CEO and billionaire founder Elon Musk tweeted last week.

"Lot that can go wrong in the November launch," Musk said today on Instagram, downplaying the chances of complete success.

Also, for the benefit of space enthusiasts worldwide, Musk also published a minute-long draft animation illustrating the Falcon Heavy triple booster launch and how the individual landings of the trio of first stage booster cores may be expected to happen nearly simultaneously.

"Side booster rockets return to Cape Canaveral," explained Musk on twitter. "Center lands on droneship."

Two side boosters will be recycled from prior Falcon 9 launches and make precision guided propulsive, upright ground soft landings back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Each booster comes with a quartet of grid fins and landing legs. The newly build centre core has also been heavily modified.

"Sides run high thrust, center is lower thrust until sides separate & fly back. Center then throttles up, keeps burning & lands on droneship. If we're lucky!" Musk elaborated.

The central booster would land on an ocean going droneshisp positioned in the Atlantic Ocean some 400 miles off of Florida's east coast.

Space X first stages, from KSC launches have so far touched down either on land at Landing Zone-1 at the Cape or at sea on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship barge.

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