First pictures of Falcon Heavy


Picture provided by SpaceX.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX published on Twitter profile first pictures of almost assembled Falcon Heavy rocket.

First three pictures were released on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. On first two we can see rocket with core and attached boosters without payload fairing; on additional picture we can see all 27 nozzles of Merlin-1D engines. Pictures were taken in assembly facility where SpaceX uses for assembling Falcon Heavy which is placed at Florida, close to LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center. Just as Elon Musk claimed few weeks ago, it seems that moment of first test flight of Falcon Heavy is getting close.

In spite of being largest SpaceX rocket, Falcon Heavy will be also first in the history rocket built mostly from reused parts. both boosters attached to the central core were already used in space missions: on tin CRC-9 cargo mission, second delivered to orbit Thaicom-8 communications satellite. Both boosters were equipped with aerodynamical shrouds on the top and additional connections to central core. Core stage was built from a scratch but is in fact heavily modified core stage of Falcon-9 FT. It was strengthened inside and equipped with additional structures helping in keeping both boosters attached. Central core also stores all the systems like navigational system or flight control system. Planned payload mass for Falcon Heavy is 63 t to LEO orbit.

First flight of Falcon Heavy is planned for January 2018.