Science

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch Details Announced

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 12, 2017 12:08 PM EST
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SpaceX is bracing for its Falcon Heavy launch. The company has started its preparations to construct to additional landing pads along with its existing sites. Aside from Falcon 9 launches, SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches will be scheduled at least six times a year.

Falcon Heavy is designed from a standard Falcon 9 rocket core with two additional strap-on boosters. Previously, the company has regained its flight license from FAA and has completed the engine test which blew up its rocket in September last year. The Falcon 9 is scheduled for take off on Saturday, Jan 14.

NASASpaceFlight.com released documents detailing the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch plans. The first ever Falcon Heavy lift will be in spring or early summer of 2017. Meanwhile, SpaceX is also planning to create a Dragon capsule in the landing zone. The 30-foot-long temporary facility will be used for the refurbishment of the Dragon 2 spacecraft, which is designed to carry the crew into orbit.

The company aims to land all three Falcon Heavy boosters in the additional launch pads emphasizing on their goal of reusability to decrease spaceflight cost. However, it also came up with an alternative plan if the construction will not be given permission. Falcon Heavy would still be launching in Florida but only the single core booster would land to the Landing Zone 1. The side boosters will meet its end in the Atlantic ocean.

"The remaining Falcon Heavy boosters would either fall into the Atlantic Ocean downrange or land on the drone ship, SpaceX's ability to fully meet the National Space Transportation Policy goals of providing low-cost reliable access to and from space would be negatively affected. Therefore, this alternative is not preferred," the company said according to Ars. There would be at least six SpaceX Falcon 9 launches a year and a dozen of Falcon 9 launches.

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