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Default SpaceX plans to test launch Falcon Heavy in early 2015
by JonnyBGoode 03-13-2014, 06:58 AM

"Later this year, Elon Musk's private rocket company, SpaceX, will launch a test flight of what it claims is the most massive rocket in existence: the Falcon Heavy. It looks a little like SpaceX's standard rocket, the Falcon 9, with two other Falcons strapped to its sides.

"Put another way, this one ship is the equivalent of 15 Boeing 747s tied together and running at full power.

"Only one other rocket has been heavier than the Falcon Heavy will be, SpaceX claims. That was NASA's Saturn V ship, which carried the Apollo and Skylab missions into space from 1966 until 1973.

"Falcon Heavy, however, is equipped to go to Mars, SpaceX says."



Complete article and specifications here: http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-...#ixzz2vp6MQsd2

Last edited by Galactic Penguin SST; 03-13-2014 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:16 AM   #2
MattBaker
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Originally Posted by JonnyBGoode View Post
 "Only one other rocket has been heavier than the Falcon Heavy will be, SpaceX claims.
SpaceX claims is the keyword here. But they neither heard of a Energia nor of a N1 nor of a SpaceShuttle (if we say the orbiter is payload, too). And yes, two of them actually worked. Well, most of the time at least.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:40 AM   #3
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That's the problem with Musk. He's tiring.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:42 AM   #4
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...and too late, Elon Musk actually said recently that it will launch early next year already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elon Musk
 “We need to find three additional cores that we could produce, send them through testing and then fly without disrupting our launch manifest,” Musk says. “I'm hopeful we'll have Falcon Heavy cores produced approximately around the end of the year. But just to get through test and qualification, I think it's probably going to be sometime early next year when we launch.”

Source: Aviation Week
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:51 AM   #5
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Read late 2016 or early 2017...
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Codz View Post
 Read late 2016 or early 2017...
I still bet that the Falcon Heavy will launch before the
new airport of Berlin new airport of Berlin
opens.

Maybe we will even have cold fusion by then.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:30 AM   #7
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 I still bet that the Falcon Heavy will launch before the new airport of Berlin opens.
Liechtenstein will land on Pluto before the new airport of Berlin opens.

But their first launch contract isn't scheduled until late 2015. So if this test launch is in November 2014 or February 2015, meh. As long as it's a nominal launch and happens by the second quarter of 2015 they're golden.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MattBaker View Post
 if we say the orbiter is payload, too
Why would we say that?

Do we count the second stage and fairing in the LEO payload capacity of a Delta or Atlas? I don't think so. The STS was plenty impressive without the need to resort to "creative book-keeping" such as this.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:41 PM   #9
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 Why would we say that?
Because it is the module for habitation, life support, electricity, safe reentry, has the EVA hatch, is brought back to Earth, the point of the mission included crew for the ISS that couldn't exactly be expressed with payload...

I don't know, my definition of payload is "anything you want and need in orbit for your mission". An upper stage isn't put into orbit because it has to get into orbit for the sake of the mission but because its cargo has to get into orbit. The Shuttle has to get into orbit for the sake of the mission.

But yeah, payload isn't exactly suppossed to power its own ascent, so the Shuttle or SSTOs blur the line. It's not exactly payload but it's not exactly an empty rocket stage.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Urwumpe View Post
 I still bet that the Falcon Heavy will launch before the new airport of Berlin opens.

Maybe we will even have cold fusion by then.
I bet the Falcon Heavy, cold fusion, and even the big freeze of the universe, will occur before they finish building the small astronomical observatory in my city (just I see working people see once a year).
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:35 AM   #11
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Oddly, the article said later this year but for some reason I typed 2015 in the headline. Must have been asleep when I posted it.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Hlynkacg View Post
 Why would we say that?

Do we count the second stage and fairing in the LEO payload capacity of a Delta or Atlas? I don't think so. The STS was plenty impressive without the need to resort to "creative book-keeping" such as this.
The Space Shuttle and Saturn V have much greater thrust than the Falcon Heavy, so seeing the SpaceX rocket launch won't be the most spectacular liftoff in recent memory. Nonetheless, if on schedule the Falcon Heavy will become the most powerful active launch vehicle until the SLS.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:45 PM   #13
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 The Space Shuttle and Saturn V have much greater thrust than the Falcon Heavy, so seeing the SpaceX rocket launch won't be the most spectacular liftoff in recent memory. Nonetheless, if on schedule the Falcon Heavy will become the most powerful active launch vehicle until the SLS.
The Delta IV Heavy weights only half as much as the Falcon Heavy, but has almost the same exhaust power, because of the higher specific impulse.
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Urwumpe View Post
 The Delta IV Heavy weights only half as much as the Falcon Heavy, but has almost the same exhaust power, because of the higher specific impulse.
I was trying to compare stats between those two and the Atlas V. I was assuming since the Falcon Heavy can carry a greater payload that it must have greater thrust. Actually, according to SpaceX's website of nearly 4 million lbf for the Falcon Heavy and by simply adding the thrust of all three cores shows it has an edge.

Falcon Heavy - 3,969,000 lbf
Delta IV Heavy - 2,117,700 lbf
Atlas V 551 - 2,808,762 lbf

So the Falcon Heavy generates 40% more thrust than the Atlas V 551. I don't know how that translates into fireworks and earthquakes, but I'm surprised at the thrust that the competition produces. I thought it would scale more linearly with the payload weight considering the Saturn V produces less than three times the thrust of the puny Atlas V 551.
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:21 PM   #15
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 I thought it would scale more linearly with the payload weight considering the Saturn V produces less than three times the thrust of the puny Atlas V 551.
No, it also depends on the specific impulse a lot. SpaceX uses currently cheapest possible gas generator cycle engines, with simplest injectors, which are easy to control, test and build, but have lower performance.

The gas generator cycle engines of the Delta IV use hydrogen and oxygen for better performance and higher chamber pressure.

The Atlas V uses staged combustion cycle engines, which use the same fuel as the Falcon, but operate at much higher chamber pressures and have a much more efficient injector technology. But also more complex engines and higher costs per engine.

More interesting for the fireworks is the exhaust power, the product of thrust and specific impulse (in SI units. In US imperialistic units, you can something else, something stranger).

Last edited by Urwumpe; 03-14-2014 at 01:25 PM.
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