Spacex Falcon Heavy should launch in the next 37 days

The most powerful rocket this generation has ever seen, SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket, launches no earlier than this November, 2017. Kennedy Space Center’s historic launch pad 39A has not supported this much thrust since the last Saturn V rocket nearly 45 years ago.

There have been several announcements that November is the target for launching the Spacex Heavy. Launching on or before Nov 30 means we would be within 37 days of the launch.

The Falcon Heavy can lift over double the payload, or cargo, as the next closest rocket, as it is designed for potential human spaceflight—perhaps back to the Moon or even Mars in the future.

SpaceX will attempt to land all three first stages of the rocket: two on land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and one on the droneship, Of Course I Still Love You, in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Spacex Falcon Heavy first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores, totaling 27 Merlin engines. Additionally, the second stage’s engine can be restarted many times, making multiple orbits possible.

If they are successful in launching the Spacex Heavy then it will be a large step towards the 31 first stage Raptor engines of the Spacex BFR.

42 thoughts on “Spacex Falcon Heavy should launch in the next 37 days”

  1. One of the worst pieces of journalism I’ve read this week. Paragraph one: “launches no earlier than this November, 2017.” Paragraph 2: “launching on or before Nov 30 means we would be within 37 days of launch.” Come on Brian Wang … launching not earlier than (NET) Nov doesn’t translate to on or before Nov 30!!!! It means the exact opposite.

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  2. Won’t launch within 37 days. Their manifest is busy till the end of 2017 and the best they can hope for is FH standing on 39-A for testing and static fire (there will be a few of them per Elon Musk) around Christmas Day. But all seems to indicate the beast will fly within 3 months (january looks feasable). They pretty well know the vibrations mode generated by 9 engines and beyond a few unknowns to check during the first flights the staging of the 2 side boosters is on top. But is has been done by Delta-4 Heavy so doable.
    When the shuttle flew the first time there were so many untested components it was close to a suicide mission for the crew. They made it. 36 years later F9H is vastly more simple
    and unmanned. So I won’t hold my breath when it takes off.

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  3. Will they really land that close together? If one has an issue and explodes, will the others be far enough away to escape damage?

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    • They will really land that close together. Since at landing the 3 cores each only have one central engine firing, the explosive force from an exploding engine would not only be absorbed by the standard shields around the central engine, but by the shields on the outer engines as well. The guidance systems are independent inertial systems at that altitude as well, so their guidance will not be affected by an explosion nearby.

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  4. So exciting! Private industry is the future of space IMHO. The main reason NASA is so screwed up is because of political interference. It takes several administrations worth of time for plans this large to come to fruition and every time we have a different administration they change the plans NASA was working on. Not to mention the outright corruption from Senators and Congress critters that have parts for the SLS being made in their districts. Finally we are not only getting somewhere again, but with a private company there is at least a chance that I will get to space before I die of old age. Thank you NASA for helping SpaceX get their technical issues resolved. Go SpaceX!

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  5. Geez came here hoping for some actual news, not a clickbait headline from an out of date NASA link. No way that FH will launch before December. FH almost HAS to launch from pad 39A and spaceX is launching the ZUMA payload on Nov 15/16 and KoreaSat two weeks before that.

    https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

    There is still work to be done on 39A for FH to lauch and they plan on being done with that by the end of November.

    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/10/spacex-zuma-iridium-4-aims-vandenberg-landing/

    We will be luck to see it Mid December at the earliest, although I read somewhere recently that they might push it into next year to give workers time off for the holidays.

    Comment system still sucks

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  6. Again, the author gets it wrong… the Shuttle had (with boosters) in excess of 6.7 Million pounds of thrust…..

    I wish the most basic research would be done prior to publishing….

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    • Fine (and I agree), but at least TRY to use comparable units to the article.

      6.7×10⁶ lbs = 3.04×10⁶ kg ( × 9.81) ≈ 30,000,000 N

      Just saying. I like it when people talk in the same units. I don’t care at all whether it is American Imperial Rocketry or SI math. Just the same units!!! (Because ALL of the non-geeks won’t know how (or be inclined) to compare them.)

      GoatGuy

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  7. I agree with the Musk. The first launch is unlikely to go well. I also don’t see how they are going to build the fucking rocket in 4 years. Too short for such a leap even by SpaceX standards..

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    • They won’t, Elon’s time frames are about as accurate as me playing darts. I believe he can build the BFR, but I doubt it will launch before 2025.

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    • Marshall didn’t really get started on the Saturn V until early 1962, and it flew in late 1968–a bit less than 7 years, and they had no idea how to build the silly thing when they started. So, with all of the technology accumulated between then and now, 4 years isn’t completely unreasonable. My bet’s more on something more like 5 and change, but we’ll see.

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  8. This is going to be a TEST. The Soviets tried the multiple Rocket main-stage configuration in the 70’s and the thing had more engine failures than Carter has pills. The more parts you have, the more failures you’ll have. This thing is going to be so full of glitches and problems. Just ask the people who worked on the space shuttle. What a nightmare this is going to be for SpaceX.

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    • Did you think maybe the thing was designed to function despite an engine failure or two? The thrust on the engines is highly adjustable and I’m pretty sure these engines operate at below the maximum thrust. This means if you lose 2 engines in flight on a single booster of the first stage then the remaining engines need to operate at a 26% higher thrust for the rest of the flight.

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    • So, I was thinking about this as well.. Wasnt that the whole issue with the Soviet N1? The plumbing to feed all those engines just never worked right?

      Someone with more knowledge can comment, but I would assume that SpaceX would have the same issue…

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      • Re: Complicated plumbing. FH uses three independent cores, so the plumbing is a non-issue. SpaceX was going to plumb the 3 together, initially, but quickly rejected that as too expensive/not enough ROI to justify. The tricky part is LIGHTING 27 engines at nearly the same time to avoid interference issues and sound problems affecting the FH.

        To me, two other issues will be matching thrust from each of the outboard cores so as to not push the rocket off course, and then horizontal separation of the outboard cores smoothly enough not to destroy the center core.

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        • Yes, fair enough.. In my mind I was thinking about the BFR. What you said is correct, and makes sense.

          It looks like the BFR will have 30+ Raptor engines. That seems to me to get back to the problems of the N1. Having said that, I have a lot of faith in Musk that someone has looked at that, and is confident they can make it a non-issue.

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      • The main problem with N1 was the fact, that engines were NOT TESTED as they could not be restarted. So basically they tested only a few engines from a batch, and if the tests were successful – launched the rest.

        Not a smart idea when you’ve got 30+ engine rocket.

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    • The Soviet’s N-1 had more engines than they could successfully simulate the vibrations for on US computers, much less the Soviet versions in 1968, when they started testing the N-1. The hardware *and* the software to do these vibration simulations, and to find problems before they explode in flight today, is light-years beyond 1968. Yes, it will be hard to do right, and that is why it has taken so long.

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  9. WTF I already did comment and it erased it.
    Spacex and Elon have already made there landings unevenful and boring.
    Congratulations

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  10. Can’ wait this will be beautiful if it works. Elon has already made the single
    stage landings boring . Good Luck and congratulations SpaceX.

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  11. “Spacex Falcon Heavy should launch in the next 37 days”

    NET stands for “not earlier than”, not “no later than”.

    I suspect that this “Zuma” launch (whatever it is) probably pushes the LC-39A final pad work for FH well into December, which probably means that FH won’t go until early 2018.

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  12. Was the problem with the Saturn that they couldn’t re engineer it to be reusable? iow , why the hoopla over a second class Falcon?

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    • There were notional plans to recover the Saturn V first stage, either by parachuting to an ocean landing,
      or by mid-air capture (see http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1045/1)

      Unfortunately saltwater and metal are not compatible, and the effort was a diversion of resources being used to get a crew to the moon in time for Kennedy’s deadline of the end of the decade.

      Propulsive landings were never considered as far as I can tell.

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      • The Space Shuttle’s burned out Solid Rocket Boosters were “recovered” by parachute. They were mostly large metal tubes, but still suffered damage from hitting the ocean. The Saturn V’s F-1 engines would surely suffer much worse damage.

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      • One other obstacle to using the Saturn V rocket engines was/is that we’re just about fresh out of them. My mother was one of the workers at Rocketdyne who built the original stock of these iconic engines, which were used in many different missiles over the years since the 1960’s. They slowly worked their way through their engine inventory until they could finally “see the back of the warehouse”.

        Then more recently, while they (NASA) ponder a long-term replacement, they turned to using Russian heavy-lift engines. Unfortunately, the ones offered and supplied by the Russians were taken from retired ICBM’s, and as we soon discovered, were not all that reliable.

        That’s why the Russian ICBM count was so much higher than ours; two for each missile silo and city, and one heck of a lot in reserve.

        I’m pretty sure the swift expansion of the civilian heavy-lift industry is encountering little real bureaucratic resistance on NASA’s part, preventing them from being in the spotlight for their very impactful rocket engine deficiency…

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    • You can’t land a stage that has an empty thrust-to-weight of 27 tail-down. The big innovation with the F9 and the Merlins is that it’s deeply throttlable, both by turning off engines completely and by throttling down the engines that remain on. The F1 is huge, not restartable, and rife with combustion instabilities. The S-1C simply couldn’t be landed.

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      • It should also be pointed out that a landing feat that is possible with 2017 onboard computers might be tricky with the abacus level stuff they had in the 1960s.

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        • I don’t know if that’s actually a gating factor. Remember, we did a perfectly fine propulsive landing on the Moon back then. GN&C for guiding the stage back is probably challenging, and 6x the gravitational acceleration probably adds some computational load. Beyond that, what would the difference be?

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    • Launch dates are always given as “no earlier than”, so it’s not a usual NBF grammar issue. It’s a factor of pad holds, weather aborts, and all the other things that historically delay a launch so that the usual “no later than” would be laughably inaccurate. It also makes it easier to deal with all the external events such as air and sea flight path closures, third parties can know that if they schedule before that time, they’re good.

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    • Nope, it’s “no earlier than”, so basically it’s a very non-descriptive time frame. It’s a way of saying anytime after November 1st, but a year from now would still fall into that time frame. They are still installing launch mounts for the rocket, and have a full manifest for the next couple months, so most people that follow these developments think the launch will slip till December at the earliest and more than likely to the first quarter of next year.

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