Falcon Heavy completes static fire test

By Brooks Hays  |  Updated Jan. 24, 2018 at 2:43 PM
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Jan. 24 (UPI) -- SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket -- the self-proclaimed "most powerful rocket in the world" -- completed its static fire test on Wednesday afternoon, paving the way for its inaugural test flight before the end of the month.

The megarocket successfully ignited all of its 27 engines at once.

"The Falcon Heavy engines appeared to fire for more than ten seconds," Spaceflight Now reported.

"Falcon Heavy hold-down firing this morning was good," Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, announced on Twitter. "Generated quite a thunderhead of steam. Launching in a week or so."

It was Musk's first tweet in more than a week.

SpaceX and science reporters teased the possibility of a static fire for more than week, but the test was scrubbed and delayed several times prior to Wednesday -- frustrating those who are trying to document the event.

The Falcon Heavy test flight is one of the most highly anticipated launches of early 2018 -- a year that is expected to be busy for SpaceX. The company has 30 flights planned over the next 11 months.

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

"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. Elon Musk has also said the rocket will carry a pair of civilians on a week-long trip around the moon.

The Falcon Heavy's first stage was successfully tested last year, but the static fire test marked the first time the full compliment of the rocket's engines has been tested.

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