Musk: Launch of Falcon Heavy could take place as soon as September
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — In a response to a question on the social media platform Twitter, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) founder and CEO Elon Musk stated that, if everything goes according to plan, the first flight of the Falcon Heavy could take place as soon as this fall.
According to the entrepreneur: “All Falcon Heavy cores should be at the Cape in two to three months, so launch should happen a month after that”.
A rough estimate of this timeline places that flight in September.
All Falcon Heavy cores should be at the Cape in two to three months, so launch should happen a month after that
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 8, 2017
Musk first mentioned the Falcon Heavy in September 2005, with its first flight planned for 2013. However, the Hawthorne, California-based NewSpace firm has been busy with developing the infrastructure needed at four launch sites, perfecting and evolving its Falcon 9 family of launchers as well as carrying out an impressive 2017 launch manifest (with seven flights having taken place so far this year).
Musk has noted in the past that the Falcon Heavy, with its three core stages and their 27 Merlin 1D rocket engines, has proven to be a rather challenging vehicle to produce. Even more so, considering that, like the Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy’s three core stages have been shown carrying out a re-entry and landing – making any flight of the new launcher no less than three times as complex.
SpaceX has stated that it is working to have Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, damaged during the Amos-6 explosion, repaired and returned to service later this summer. After this has happened, Falcon 9 flights should launch from SLC-40, with Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A being used to launch the Falcon Heavy. SpaceX entered into a 20-year lease with NASA to use historic LC-39A in 2014.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.