SpaceX’s second Falcon Heavy booster arrives in Florida as launch #2 closes in

SpaceX’s second Falcon Heavy side booster has made its way from Texas to Florida after completing a successful static fire acceptance test at the …

SpaceX’s second Falcon Heavy side booster has made its way from Texas to Florida after completing a successful static fire acceptance test at the company’s McGregor complex, paving the way for the third and final booster – currently vertical on McGregor’s test stand – to complete its own round of tests and head East.

Once the third and most important booster – known as the center core – arrives at SpaceX’s Florida launch facilities, all three of the next Falcon Heavy’s boosters will be ready to head into the integration stage, culminating in an integrated static fire prior to the second launch ever of SpaceX’s flagship super-heavy-lift rocket.

SpaceX Facebook group member Joshua Murrah captured two great photos of the second Falcon Heavy side booster to arrive in Florida in the last month. (Joshua Murrah, 01/17/19)

A Texas pilot happened to fly by SpaceX’s McGregor facilities on January 11th, catching a live glimpse of a Merlin Vacuum (MVac) or second stage static fire test, as well a Falcon booster – perhaps Falcon Heavy’s next center core – vertical on the facility’s booster static fire stand. While it has not yet been visually confirmed as the next Falcon Heavy center core, a booster traveling through the Waco, Texas area to McGregor was spotted with protuberances that are not normally seen on regular Falcon 9 boosters and happened to be in the right place for FH-specific hardware.

A booster – likely the next Falcon Heavy center core – was vertical at McGregor’s S1 static fire stand. (Instagram /u/tcryguy)

An MVac or Falcon 9 S2 performs a static fire at McGregor. (Instagram /u/tcryguy)

There is also a case to be made that – per the fact that the first two side boosters have been built, shipped, tested, and delivered back-to-back – SpaceX chose to consecutively manufacture all hardware needed for the second Falcon Heavy instead of producing one or a few single-stick Falcon 9 boosters in between, which the appearance of a center core-like rocket in Texas certainly helps corroborate. While Falcon Heavy side boosters are effectively just Falcon 9 boosters with a few additional attachments and nose cones, currently scheduling indicates that SpaceX may attempt to rapidly turn all three Falcon Heavy Flight 2 boosters around perhaps just 30-60 days after their first launch. Otherwise, once the rocket’s 2019 launches have been completed, both side boosters can be converted back into Falcon 9 boosters and thus reenter SpaceX’s active fleet of flight-proven rockets.

Falcon Heavy’s center core, however, is dramatically different than a regular Falcon 9 booster, owing to the fact that it needs to essentially support triple the thrust and mechanical stresses as single-stick launches. The rocket’s design works to improve payload performance by using the two side cores to boost the center core and leave it with far more propellant left over than Falcon 9 would during a comparable launch profile, roughly equivalent to a three-person bike where only two people are pedaling hard. During a Falcon Heavy launch, side boosters thus separate a solid 30-60 seconds before the center core parts ways with the upper stage and payload.

A diagram from a recent SpaceX document offers an idea of what Falcon Heavy Block 5 will look like. (SpaceX)

The first Falcon Heavy, seen here fully integrated aside from its payload fairing. (SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy just prior to its launch debut, February 2018. (Tom Cross)

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy prepares for the huge rocket’s inaugural launch. (SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy’s sooty side boosters stand at LZ-1 and LZ-2 after a successful launch debut. (SpaceX)

Thanks to its significant differences, it’s highly unlikely – if not impossible – for a Falcon Heavy center core to launch a regular Falcon 9 mission. As such, once Falcon Heavy’s 2019 launches are completed, the center core will most likely be processed, refurbished, and then stored until the next Falcon Heavy payload is ready to go, at which point Falcon 9 boosters would be converted into Heavy side cores. Given that the Block 5 upgrade is designed to allow Falcon boosters to perform as many as 10 launches with minimal to no refurbishment and 100+ with regular repairs and maintenance, it’s entirely possible that a single Falcon Heavy center core could theoretically support all possible future launches of the rocket.

In reality, customers like the USAF and NASA will probably request new hardware for foreseeable Falcon Heavy launches, most of which would likely be extremely expensive flagship satellites (AFSPC-52) or interplanetary spacecraft (Europa Clipper).

Fans of @SpaceX will be interested to note that the government is now taking very seriously the possibility of flying Clipper on the Falcon Heavy.

— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) December 3, 2018

Falcon Heavy’s next two launches are planned as early as March (a large communications satellite called Arabsat 6A) and April (an experimental USAF launch called STP-2 with two dozen separate payloads). With two side boosters already in Florida, those dates are now serious possibilities, and the center core’s arrival will be the telltale sign that Falcon Heavy’s second launch ever is imminent.


Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes!

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Rich people have cars in their garages, Elon Musk has one in space

But then, if you’re reading this, you’re not Elon Musk, and you don’t have a Tesla Roadster (2008) cruising through space. About eleven months back, …

It was probably the biggest PR stunt in recent memory. You’d probably never think of pulling off something like that. But then, if you’re reading this, you’re not Elon Musk, and you don’t have a Tesla Roadster (2008) cruising through space. About eleven months back, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket. About four minutes into the flight, the rocket opened up and delivered a unique payload: a cherry-red sports car right from Elon Musk’s personal stables. While billionaires across the world fill up their garages with exotic cars, Elon Musk has his ride set for a road trip through space.

Put into orbit by the most powerful rocket on earth, the sports car has its stereo system playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity on a loop as it travels for eternity. Navigated by a dummy called the Starman, the car even has a chip on it that reads “Made by humans” – you know, just in case it runs into aliens. “It’s kind of silly and fun,” Musk had said, “but silly and fun things are important.”

So what’s special about a Tesla Roadster? According to Caranddriver.com, the Tesla Roadster is based on the Lotus Elise. It is a high performance, electric powered car. That means it is environment-friendly – it runs on batteries. The ride seats only two and has a 1-speed auto transmission. The engine churns out a robust 13,000 rpm at 248 hp and the vehicle features ABS and driveline traction control. The car tops out at 125 mph and moves from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds.

View this post on Instagram

Falcon Heavy demo mission payload

A post shared by SpaceX (@spacex) on Dec 22, 2017 at 3:24pm PST

For comfort, there’s air conditioning and support heated front seats – so you get a comfortable chill-free ride during winter. Unlike regular cars, the Roadster comes with a key fob which allows remote keyless entry.

View this post on Instagram

A Red Car for the Red Planet

A post shared by SpaceX (@spacex) on Dec 22, 2017 at 2:57pm PST

As of now, Elon Musk’s prized possession is 357,139,929 km (and counting) away from earth, travelling at a speed of 20,511 km/h. It has gone past Mars and has even exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty 12,464.9 times while driving around the Sun, as per a report on Whereisroadster.com. The website concludes that the vehicle has been on a space trip for over 11 months. Crazy, right?

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Musk Now Claims Tesla Roadster Will Hover Thanks To Rocket Thrusters

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has made the audacious claim that the next-generation Tesla Roadster will be capable of hovering. No, your eyes are …

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has made the audacious claim that the next-generation Tesla Roadster will be capable of hovering. No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

In mid-2018, the entrepreneur claimed that when the Roadster goes on sale, it will be available with an optional ‘Space X package‘ that comes complete with rocket thrusters. Initially, Musk said these would aid in the vehicle’s acceleration, top speed, braking, and cornering and now he says they will also allow the all-electric hypercar to fly, or hover.

Responding to a tweet depicting the DeLorean from Back to the Future hovering, Musk said that the new Roadster could have a similar feature. Asked to clarify whether he was joking or not by popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee, he indicated that he is very serious about making a hovering hypercar.

I’m not. Will use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 9, 2019

“Will use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats,” Musk added.

As crazy as this sounds, we have no doubt that Musk is very serious about making it happen. However, whether or not this is actually something that can be achieved and offered to the public is another question entirely. Such a system would also be exorbitantly expensive and probably not sold in very large numbers.

Excluding the rocket thrusters, the new Tesla Roadster is already promising to be something remarkable. Tesla claims that thanks to its powerful electric motors and 200 kWh battery pack, the Roadster will reportedly travel over 620 miles (1000 km) on a single charge, be able to reach 60 mph (96 km/h) from a standstill in 1.9 seconds, and top out at over 250 mph (402 km/h).

PHOTO GALLERY

more photos…

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Elon Musk Boasts That The Tesla Roadster May One Day Fly And Posts Picture Of ‘Back To The …

Elon Musk has made the news once again after posting a photograph on Twitter of the DeLorean in the hit film Back to the Future, boasting that one …

Elon Musk has just made the rather exciting claim that the new Tesla Roadster will have the capability of flying.

Elon Musk has made the news once again after tweeting a photograph of the DeLorean from the hit film Back to the Future, boasting that one day, the $200,000 Tesla Roadster may be able to fly as well, if customers make sure that they opt for the “SpaceX add-on package.”

As the Daily Mail has reported, beside the shot of the Back to the Future DeLorean, Musk made the tantalizing claim that “the new Roadster will actually do something like this,” which led tech YouTuber and Twitter user Marques Brownlee to post, “The thing is I feel like you’re not joking,” to which Elon Musk replied that he was not joking at all.

Musk further stated that the Tesla Roadster would be using a special cold gas thruster system as part of its flying design, which is an idea that has gripped Tesla customers everywhere.

“Will use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats.”

With such an exciting prospect as a flying Roadster, it was later asked whether this vehicle would be able to traverse a quarter of a mile in no fewer than eight seconds, which Elon Musk believes is absolutely “no problem.” Musk then replied, “Vertically or horizontally?” to the original question.

Finally. Flying cars! https://t.co/L0uY0VpJ3A

— CNBC International (@CNBCi) January 12, 2019

In 2018, Musk stated on Twitter that Tesla’s brand new Roadster will allow customers the special option of adding rocket thrusters to the vehicle, which he said would “dramatically” boost its acceleration. This upgrade, he has also said, may even possibly “allow a Tesla to fly.”

This unique “SpaceX option package” may sound so extravagantly surreal that many may believe that it simply isn’t possible. Still, as Elon Musk has demonstrated to time and time again, what people may oftentimes believe can’t happen does actually happen under Musk’s leadership, which means that yes, with Tesla at the helm, flying Roadsters might be coming in the future.

With the new option package for the Roadster, 10 extremely small rocket thrusters will be built at different points along the vehicle’s body, which will give the car many new and improved effects, which include better braking, fantastic cornering, and of course, faster acceleration.

The new Roadster will actually do something like this https://t.co/fIsTAYa4x8

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 9, 2019

As might be expected, the rockets on the new Roadster will be “pure electric,” according to Musk, with compressed air being stored inside the rocket boosters.

“Using the config you describe, plus an electric pump to replenish air in COPV, when car power draw drops below max pack power output, makes sense. But we are going to go a lot further.”

Whether these cars will actually end up flying is anybody’s guess, but the special package certainly looks tantalizing. The new model of Tesla Roadsters will begin shipping in 2020.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Elon Musk Reveals Picture of Starship, The Rocket That Can Carry People to Moon and Mars

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given the world a glimpse of his rocket, which he aims to help carry people to the Moon and red planet, Mars. Ambitious …
Elon Musk Reveals Picture of Starship, The Rocket That Can Carry People to Moon and Mars

Starship rocket by SpaceX (Photo Credits: Twitter)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given the world a glimpse of his rocket, which he aims to help carry people to the Moon and red planet, Mars. Ambitious and enthusiastic about venturing into space and making life possible outside the planet earth, Musk’s company was working on making a monster rocket. Musk had decided to call it ‘Starship’ and has now shared the first looks of the vehicle. Musk posted pictures of the rocket on his Twitter account. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Reveals Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Will Fly Around the Moon on the Big Falcon Rocket.

The test flight of this Starship will be done in the coming weeks. It will reach several miles in the air called the suborbital hops and then reach back to the Earth’s surface. The trials could be in the month of March or April. It was built in Boca China and is about eight meters in diameter, although it is shorter than the future rocket. First Person to Go on Mars Should Be a Woman, Says NASA Training Chief Allison McIntyre.

Watch Pictures of Elon Musk’s Starship Aimed to Go to The Moon and Mars

Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering. pic.twitter.com/k1HkueoXaz

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019

This prototype will be paired along with a massive rocket booster which is called the Super Heavy. On pairing the two, SpaceX has said it could transport people not just from one city to another but also send passengers around the Moon and even to the Mars and back! The first trip around the moon could be expected in the year 2023 with the help of this Starship. This entire rocket system is said to cost about USD 5 billion.

Musk had mentioned earlier, he wants the Starship to accommodate about 100 people, so that if one day if there is a possibility of developing life, rather a colony on the moon, it could be used. Other than the Starship, SpaceX is also working on a new capsule that could take people to the orbiting outpost.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts