When I was young I used to compare rockets to the rockets(as in crackers). I expected them to go into the space and be done with it. I did not have any concept of reentry or reusing rockets for new launches. I came to know about it when I heard about ISRO’s rockets PSLV and GSLV being coming up in multiple launches I realised that rockets are just like vehicles which delivers something to the upper atmosphere or space and comes back.
I found out that launches are not carried out in randomly setup engines but instead they are carried out in very well known and trusted rockets which are almost as well known as celebrities.
Today we are going to talk about one such rocket. The Falcon Heavy. It is a vehicle(I might be referring to rockets as vehicles) made by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company. Capable of carrying 64 metric tons (64 thousand Kilograms) of payload.
The First launch of the Falcon heavy interestingly carried a Tesla roadster. The consecutive launches carried Arabsat-6A, USAF STP-2, AFSPC-44, AFSPC-52, ViaSat-3-Americas(planned), Psyche(planned), Atleast two Dragon XL flights(planned).
Here’s a size comparison between Falcon Heavy and other spaceX rockets.
The Basic Parts of Falcon Heavy
The booster in the first stage will be capable of flying back to earth so that they can be reused safely.
The Falcon Heavy uses the Merlin engine. This engine is in Falcon 1, Falcon 9 as well. It is considered as the most efficient rocket engine made in America.
It is of two types, Merlin Sea Level and Merlin Vaccum designed for atmosphere and space respectively.
Here are some key stats of the Falcon Heavy
|Payload to LEO||63,800 Kg|
|Payload to GTO||26700 Kg|
|Payload to MARS||16,800 Kg|
How was it envisoned?
The very first idea of a Falcon heavy rocket came up in 2003. It was planned to use 3 Falcon 1 core boosters for the Falcon heavy. Then in 2005 the plan was changed to use 3 Falcon 9 boosters for the rocket.
After that a number of issues with Falcon 9 and design challenges of Falcon Heavy delayed the first launch to 2018
In July 2017, Elon Musk said, “It actually ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought. … Really way, way more difficult than we originally thought. We were pretty naive about that.”[
The initial test flight carried Elon Musk’t very own Tesla.
The Falcon Heavy was developed with private funding by Elon. No Government financing was provided for it’s development.
The frequent launches of spaceX is supposed to contribute to the pollution in the atmosphere and sending an unsterile object to space has the potential to infect a foreign world with earth’s micro organisms. The Tesla sent to space on the Falcan Heavy’s first launch is thought to have presence of bacteria since it was previously used by elon musk for daily use(Although it was sterilized).