2 soon to launch SpaceX rockets stand simultaneous erect at
Florida’s Spaceport: Falcon Heavy at pad 39A at the Kennedy Space
Center at left and Falcon 9 booster carrying SES-16/GovSat-1 at pad 40 at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station at right post Jan. 26, 2018 static fire test. Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com
Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com — 26
MERRITT ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REGUGE/PLAYALINDA BEACH,
FL – 2 soon to launch Falcons stand
simultaneously vertical on 2 launch pads for back to back launchings by SpaceX
in the next 2 weeks for the first time. They are pictured together here for the
first time shortly after today’s successful static fire test of the single stick
Falcon 9 on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Cape.
It’s truly Rocket Heaven at
Florida’s Spaceport – with the maiden Falcon Heavy and a ‘Flight-Proven’ Falcon
Check out my
exclusive SpaceUpClose.com photo gallery of the maiden Falcon Heavy at pad 39A
and the recycled Falcon 9 at pad 40 pointing magnificently skyward to the High
Frontier from the Florida Space Coast.
SpaceX’s triple stick Falcon Heavy sits at Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy
Space Center, at left, while SpaceX’s single stick Falcon 9 booster sits at Space
Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, at right.
The debut SpaceX Falcon
Heavy and a recycled Falcon 9 were both upright and close enough at nearby
launch pads to be captured in a single shot – it’s just historic.
4 Cores for 2 SpaceX Falcon family of rockets!
History is in the making at SpaceX founded by billionaire CEO Elon Musk.
The Falcon 9 will
deliver SES-16/GovSat-1 to geosynchronous orbit for the government of
Luxembourg. The maiden Falcon Heavy’s payload is Musk’s Tesla Roaster that will
be hurled outward on a whimsical trip on a heliocentric journey to Mars orbit.
The dynamic duo of Falcons designed
and manufactured by SpaceX are targeting liftoff just days apart on NET Jan. 30
for the Falcon 9 and NET Feb. 6. Of course this schedule is completely dependent
on a myriad of technical issues and the ever changing Florida weather.
Each rocket stands about 229 feet tall (70 meters).
Both rockets completed successful hold
down static fire tests this week – just 2 days apart on Wed. Jan. 24 and Fri.
The static fire of the headless Falcon 9 took
place Friday around 1230 pm EST and lasted several seconds.
“Static fire test of Falcon 9
complete—targeting January 30 launch of GovSat-1 from Pad 40 in Florida,”
tweeted SpaceX. Unfortunately there was
no advance word on the timing of the static fire.
The rocket was ‘headless’ because the test
firing of the first stage equipped with 9 Merlin 1D engines is conducted without
the payload on top to keep it safe in case of a launch pad accident such as occurred
during the catastrophic explosion with the Amos-6 payload in Sept. 2016. That calamity
resulted in destruction of the payload and rocket and extensive damage to pad
The 1st ever static fire test for
the Falcon Heavy took place on Wednesday, Jan 24, at 12:30 p.m. EST and lasted
about 10 seconds – as I watched from the Playalinda Beach causeway. Read our
The triple stick
Falcon Heavy is comprised of a trio of Falcon 9 boosters – including a
significantly modified central core, to deal with aerodynamic stresses, that is
attached to a pair of side-mounted cores with newly developed nose cones
mounted in place of payload fairings.
The two side
cores are ‘flight-proven’ boosters that already launched once and are being
recycled for the Heavy.
The gigantic two stage Falcon Heavy stands more
than 229 feet (70 meters) tall and measures 39.9 feet wide (12.2 meters). It also features a dozen grid fins and a
dozen landing legs attached to the first stage boosters in an attempt to soft
land all three cores – by land and by sea.
Read our detailed prelaunch and launch
Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of Falcon Heavy,
SpaceX, ULA and NASA and space mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space
Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com – www.spaceupclose.com
– twitter @ken_kremer, ken at kenkremer.com
Falcon Heavy ignites 27 first stage engines during first ever static fire test generating
5 million pounds of thrust and an enormous exhaust plume on
Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as seen on Jan. 24 2018 from Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge. Debut liftoff slated for early
February 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com