US space flight company SpaceX on February 6, 2018 launched the world's most powerful operational rocket 'Falcon Heavy' into the space. The Falcon Heavy blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States.
Falcon Heavy's smooth takeoff wasn't the only surprising thing about this launch, but also SpaceX managed to guide two of the Falcon Heavy's first-stage rocket boosters to land straight back on Earth. They landed in unison at a Kennedy Space Centre landing pad.
Falcon Heavy carried a red Tesla Roadster car belonging to SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk into space. The car was outfitted with a mannequin dressed in a spacesuit, a high-data storage unit containing Isaac Asimov's science fiction book series, the Foundation Trilogy, and a plaque bearing the names of 6000 SpaceX employees.
Earlier, the only rocket that delivered more payload into the space was Saturn V moon rocket, which was last flown in 1973.
About Falcon Heavy
• The Falcon Heavy was launched from the same NASA launch pad that was the base for the Apollo Moon missions of the 1960s and 1970s.
• With a total of 27 Merlin engines, it's capable of generating more than 5 million pounds (2.3 million kg) of thrust at liftoff, which is equal to about eighteen 747 aircraft.
• The rocket can lift a total weight of 64 tons into the orbit, which is just the double of the lift capacity of the operational vehicle 'Delta IV Heavy', that too at a far lower cost of about USD 90 million per launch, in comparison to USD 350 million for Delta IV Heavy.
• The Falcon Heavy, on the whole, equals the strength of three Falcon 9 rockets of SpaceX.
• Three cores or boosters make up the first stage of Falcon Heavy. The side boosters are connected to the centre of the core at its base and at the vehicle’s interstage.
• The two side boosters are both flight-tested. One of the boosters launched the Thaicom 8 satellite in May 2016 and the other supported the CRS-9 mission in July 2016.
• Falcon Heavy’s second stage will attempt to place the Roadster car into a precessing Earth-Mars elliptical orbit around the sun.
• It was initially designed with an aim to restore the possibility of sending humans to the Moon or Mars, but now Falcon Heavy is being considered mainly as a potential equipment carrier for deep space destinations.