SpaceX aims for December 29 launch of Falcon Heavy


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Capitalism in space: SpaceX has set a date for the first Falcon Heavy launch as no earlier than December 29.

They hope to be able to do a number of dress rehearsal countdowns prior to actual launch, which is what makes this schedule somewhat tentative.

While SpaceX has ample experience lighting all nine engines of the Falcon 9 simultaneously, with every Falcon 9 going through a full duration hot fire at McGregor followed by a static fire on the launch pad before all nine engines are lit a third time for launch, no company in the U.S. rocket industry has experience lighting 27 engines at the same time.

While each of the three Falcon Heavy debut cores – two flight-proven cores for the side-mounted boosters (boosters B1023 and B1025) and a new core for the central core (booster B1033) – have undergone hot fire testing at McGregor, they were all fired separately because the Texas test site is not built to accommodate three cores at the same time.

This means SpaceX will not gain a full understanding of how all 27 engines light until the more-crucial-than-usual static fire at LC-39A at Kennedy.

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8 comments

  • Captain E. Meritus

    The Soyuz rocket simultaneously ignites 32 motors with large WOODEN MATCHES!
    Over 1700 launches in the past 51 years.

    GO FALCON HEAVY!
    GO ELON!

    Will be on the beach to see it for myself.

  • Michael

    It may be me but it seems like one can no longer view a webcast launch on the SpaceX website after the fact. Did google change youtube somehow?

    Thanks

  • Kirk

    Michael, the “Watch Replay” link for the Koreasat-5A Mission from the SpaceX.com does seem messed up, but looking at the SpaceX YouTube channel Videos page, you can find the Koreasat-5A Webcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNRTNxZSPhE

    My favorite part of this flight was the stage separation, with pulses of S2 exhaust impinging on the Interstage during engine start. (This reminds me of the iconic imagery of the interstage jettison during Saturn V flights.) 16:29 take you to a few seconds before MECO.

    Other highlights are:
    The launch itself, into a clear sky: 13:53 takes you to T-0:05
    The flaming booster on the deck of the barge. 23:13
    And the booster with the fire out, but a smoking deck. 40:20
    There wasn’t much video of the landing itself due to loss of the video uplink.

  • wayne

    (So– whatever happened to Miss Tice at SpaceX??)

    Kirk– Thanks,
    yeah, the link at SpaceX was messed up, but is now fixed. (Personally, I love the staging-events myself.)
    -tangentially–very good crystal-clean video, of Apollo staging is at:
    “Saturn V Staging”
    https://youtu.be/HTGk3UM-IOU
    7:44

    Michael– SpaceX is pretty fast as far as getting the full replay up to YouTube. Suggest you just manually search, if any given link is broken.
    As Kirk notes, it shows up at the SpaceX YouTube main-page, pretty quickly. (And “everyone else” is very fast, as far as dicing-n-slicing the video for their own upload purposes.)

    (And yeah, “in general,’– YouTube IS manipulating search-results for video. I often have to dig deeper than “normal” to find Clips & Channels, I know exist, especially if they are ‘political’ in nature.)

  • Edward

    Captain E. Meritus,
    You wrote: “The Soyuz rocket simultaneously ignites 32 motors with large WOODEN MATCHES!

    We had a good discussion about this, last year. You may enjoy the discussion.
    http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/russians-use-wooden-matches-to-ignite-rocket-engines/

  • Michael

    Wayne/Kirk

    I went back and tried both the SpaceX website and google directly and had no joy in either spot. It may be something I am doing wrong.

    I was forced to miss the last launch due to personal business (I was kind of amazed to find out they could fly without me watching). Anyway I am concerned because I may be traveling when FH flies and I would hate to be unable to watch if I cannot do so real time.

    As an aside, there is a google site I used to download the videos, I got the link from a class I took, that also appears to be disabled.

    I do not mind subscribing to something if reasonable but it would be nice to know what if that is now the case

  • wayne

    Michael–
    no need to pay anyone for these videos!

    I thought they fixed that. I see what is happening—the link at SpaceX, still points to the live stream, which is off-line.
    But it has been archived as a different file.

    Go directly to the SpaceX YouTube ‘Video’ page here:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel/videos?disable_polymer=1

    -They display them in chronological order on this page, so the koreasat launch will appear at the top left somewhere.
    (Their “home” page doesn’t necessarily display them in order, but rather by other metrics.)

    and the link that Kirk referenced, remains valid:
    Koreasat 5A webcast
    SpaceX l
    https://youtu.be/CNRTNxZSPhE
    (50:54)

  • wayne

    Michael-
    (comment awaiting moderation in which I address your problem.)
    Just a quick search tip for video in-general:
    — skip Google entirely and just search within YouTube. (Same people, but you get widely divergent results from Google-search vs. within YouTube search.)

    And I never miss an opportunity to push all the free resources at
    http://www.archive.org
    Huge amounts of audio/video/text available for download in multiple formats.
    I’m positive you would find something you like!

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