Three cores make up the first stage of Falcon Heavy. The side cores, or boosters, are connected to the center core at its base and at the vehicle’s interstage. With a total of 27 Merlin engines, Falcon Heavy’s three cores are capable of generating more than 5 million pounds of thrust.
For this test flight, Falcon Heavy’s two side cores are both flight-proven. One launched the Thaicom 8 satellite in May 2016 and the other supported the CRS-9 mission in July 2016. Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side cores landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Falcon Heavy’s center core attempted to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The payload for Falcon Heavy’s demonstration mission was SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk’s midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster. Demonstration missions like this one typically carry steel or concrete blocks as mass simulators, but SpaceX decided it would be more worthwhile to launch something fun and without irreplaceable sentimental value: a red Roadster for the red planet. Following launch, Falcon Heavy’s second stage placed the Roadster into a precessing Earth-Mars elliptical orbit around the sun.
Terms: News Worldwide