SpaceX tests first stage of 'world's most powerful rocket'

By Brooks Hays  |  Sept. 4, 2017 at 12:19 PM
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Sept. 4 (UPI) -- SpaceX has completed testing of all three first-stage cores on its Falcon Heavy rocket. The company is preparing for the rocket's first flight test, scheduled for early November.

"Falcon Heavy's 3 first stage cores have all completed testing at our rocket development facility in McGregor, TX," the aerospace company announced on Twitter.

SpaceX touts the Falcon Heavy as the "world's most powerful rocket."

"Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost," the company claims on its website.

SpaceX expects the Falcon Heavy to eventually ferry crew and cargo between Earth and Mars.

The Falcon Heavy is essentially a trio of Falcon 9 cores bound together. The three rocket engines can generate 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff -- equivalent to eighteen 747 aircraft.

"Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit," according to SpaceX.

According to Fortune, one of the three cores included in the tests had previously powered a Falcon 9 rocket on a space station resupply mission. SpaceX remains committed to reusability as a strategy for dramatically reducing costs.

The company launched and landed a reusable rocket for the first time this year. All totaled, the company has executed controlled landings of 15 first-stage rockets.

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