SpaceX has just received its launch license for the Falcon Heavy, a massive rocket that could one day take man to Mars.
SpaceX has just achieved an incredibly important milestone after receiving a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration for the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, the largest rocket ever built that could one day take man to Mars. The launch, scheduled for Feb. 6, will blast the Falcon Heavy rocket into space for the first time with the rather bizarre payload of a modified Tesla Roadster, a creative way of simulating mass on the rocket.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk said late last year that the Roadster sports car would end up flying past Mars and deep into outer space. The license, which was issued on Feb. 2, is that last obstacle to the launch, which could be a pivotal moment in the future of human space exploration.
SpaceX has been at the forefront of a boom in launches lately thanks to its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which has been sending supplies to the International Space Station. SpaceX has also been able to land rockets on pads either on land or in the sea, which could greatly lower the price of space launches in the future.
“When Falcon Heavy lifts off in 2018, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” according to SpaceX’s website. “With the ability to lift into orbit over 54 metric tons (119,000 lb)–a mass equivalent to 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.”