IMAGE OF THE DAY: Falcon Heavy Side Cores Nail Landing On SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2
By Space Coast Daily // February 6, 2018
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Falcon Heavy lifted off from Florida’s Space Coast at Kennedy Space Center on a Tuesday afternoon and made history by becoming the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.
Falcon Heavy also made history by landing side boosters shortly after liftoff. The side boosters both landed on SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2. The wait for confirmation on the center stage is on-going which was supposed to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic ocean.
Launch window opened at 1:30 p.m. ET. However, due to upper level winds, the launch lifted off at 3:45 p.m. ET. Coverage of the launch was seen on Space Coast Daily TV.
With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy lifted 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.
Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.
Falcon Heavy missions will deliver large payloads to orbit inside a composite fairing, but the rocket can also carry the Dragon spacecraft.
ABOVE VIDEO: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Makes History From Kennedy Space Center.
The composite payload fairing protects satellites during delivery to destinations in low Earth orbit (LEO), geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and beyond.
Falcon Heavy draws upon Falcon 9’s proven design, which minimizes stage separation events and maximizes reliability. The second-stage Merlin engine, identical to its counterpart on Falcon 9, delivered the rocket’s payload to orbit after the main engines cut off and the first-stage cores separate. The engine can be restarted multiple times to place payloads into a variety of orbits including low Earth, geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and geosynchronous orbit (GSO).
Three cores make up the first stage of Falcon Heavy. The side cores, or boosters, are connected at the base and at the top of the center core’s liquid oxygen tank. The three cores, with a total of 27 Merlin engines, generate 22,819 kilonewtons (5.13 million pounds) of thrust at liftoff. Shortly after liftoff the center core engines were throttled down. After the side cores separate, the center core engines throttled back up to full thrust.
Each of Falcon Heavy’s side cores, or boosters, is equivalent to the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket with nine Merlin engines. At liftoff, the boosters and the center core all operated at full thrust. Shortly after liftoff, the center core engines were throttled down. After the side cores separate, the center core engines throttle back up.
THREE NINE-ENGINE CORES
Inside each of Falcon Heavy’s three cores was a cluster of nine Merlin engines. These same engines power Falcon 9, enabling efficiencies that make Falcon Heavy the most cost-effective heavy-lift launch vehicle in the world. With a total of 27 first-stage engines, Falcon Heavy has engine-out capability that no other launch vehicle can match—under most payload scenarios, it can sustain more than one unplanned engine shutdown at any point in flight and still successfully complete its mission.
THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL ROCKET
WITH MORE THAN 5 MILLION POUNDS OF THRUST AT LIFTOFF, FALCON Heavy is the most capable rocket flying. By comparison, the liftoff thrust of the Falcon Heavy equaled approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power. Below is a comparison chart of the world’s heavy lift vehicles, based on historical launch data. Falcon Heavy lifted the equivalent of a fully loaded 737 jetliner–complete with passengers, luggage and fuel–to orbit. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit than Falcon Heavy.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) February 6, 2018
View from SpaceX Launch Control. Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth. pic.twitter.com/QljN2VnL1O
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
Congrats to SpaceX for a great historic launch and landing!
— Bill Posey (@congbillposey) February 6, 2018
— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) February 6, 2018
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 6, 2018
Congratulations @SpaceX! Acting Administrator Lightfoot: “All of us in this business know the effort it takes to get to a first flight…and recognize the tremendous accomplishment we witnessed today” https://t.co/SvJG2157zA https://t.co/JJK1RKFtPC
— NASA (@NASA) February 6, 2018
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) February 6, 2018
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