SpaceX's Falcon Heavy megarocket was rolled out on the launchpad today (Dec. 28), as the company prepares for the rocket's maiden flight, which is scheduled for next month.
NASA confirmed today that the Falcon Heavy has been moved to Launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket will undergo various tests before it takes off; SpaceX has not yet confirmed a launch date.
If all goes well, the Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in operation, with nearly twice the lifting power of the next-most powerful rocket, according to NASA. It will be the most powerful rocket to launch from Launch Complex 39A since NASA's Saturn V, which sent astronauts to the moon, according to NASA.
SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket was raised vertical at launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center this morning for testing ahead of liftoff next month. (Image via @ExploreSpaceKSC) https://t.co/miZgMdTe0T pic.twitter.com/EMgGhfURt5— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) December 28, 2017
SpaceX's founder and CEO, Elon Musk, announced earlier this month that a Tesla Roadster will launch on the first Falcon Heavy , and that it will be sent on a trajectory aimed for Mars orbit. However, Musk has also said publicly that there is a "good chance" something will go wrong during the maiden launch and the rocket's payload won't make it into orbit.
The Falcon Heavy's first stage consists of three Falcon 9 boosters, each of which contains nine Merlin engines ― 27 engines total. Earlier this year, Musk said he eventually wants SpaceX to phase out work on the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, to focus on an even larger rocket that could be used to send large payloads (and even people) to Mars.