SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Is Almost Ready to Fly Again, New Photos Show
SpaceX’s most powerful operational rocket is almost ready for its comeback. The company hasn’t said a word about the beastly Falcon Heavy ever since it blasted CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space with a crash test dummy in the driver’s seat. But recent social media posts have revealed that SpaceX is gearing up to have it take to the skies again.
One of the side-boosters that flank Falcon Heavy’s center core was photographed traveling through Maricopa, Arizona by Eric Schmidt — a member of a SpaceX enthusiasts Facebook group. This image joins a photo that appeared on Reddit of a similar object in Arizona and a November 10 video that was filmed of the booster leaving SpaceX’s Hawthorn facility. All of this provides fresh evidence that Musk’s aerospace company is mobilizing to launch the Falcon Heavy roughly a year after its maiden flight.
Currently, Falcon Heavy’s next mission is slated to take place in either January or February of 2019. SpaceX has been commissioned to launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for a Saudi Arabian operator. It’s expected to take off from the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A in Florida, according to the company’s mission schedule.
Falcon Heavy took off without a hitch during its initial test launch in February. Both of its side boosters pulled off a stunning dual landing enabling SpaceX to recover and reuse them for this future launch. However, its center core wasn’t so lucky. Its return engines failed to ignite, causing it to plummet into the Atlantic at about 300 miles per hour.
SpaceX has demonstrated that Falcon Heavy is more than capable of transporting hefty payloads into orbit with its maiden voyage. This next launch will be a live mission with a valuable payload, so the company will be looking to recreate its last success while simultaneously recovering the main core.
The wait is almost over. Falcon Heavy will likely fly again very soon.