SpaceX To Launch 'Silliest' Thing On Falcon Heavy
Elon Musk has been basking in the glow of the recent successful launch of his first reusable rocket. Keeping up with the momentum, he is already looking into a demonstration flight for the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is set to launch later this year.
Ars Technica reported that with its single Merlin engine, the vacuum-rated version of the nine engines previously used on the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket will be used for Falcon Heavy's second stage rocket. This means that it will deliver the payload to orbit after the engines are turned off. Recovery for the Falcon Heavy would be difficult. But if it is successful, this could prove to be a stepping stone toward the company's desire to reuse entire rockets.
The possibility of reusing rockets has not been proven yet. To do so, SpaceX will have to bring back the first-stage rocket, the payload and the second stage of the launch vehicle. The second stage, in particular, is questionable. It reaches a higher altitude than the first-stage launch and may have to use a combination of the engines and a few parachutes to land back to Earth.
This does not deter Musk, who said on Twitter that odds of success are low but could still be worth a shot. He also added that the vehicle can be brought back to Earth the same way they did with the Dragon spacecraft from orbit. However, a lot of calculations have to be made concerning the weight needed to get the second stage to a safe landing.
The test payload for Falcon Heavy will not be valuable, but Elon Musk told his Twitter followers that the company is planning on launching the "silliest thing" they can imagine. What could this be, nobody knows yet.
In a previous test for a SpaceX Dragon capsule, they launched a wheel of Le Brouere cheese as inspired by "a friend and Monty Python." While Musk refused to tell the press what the mystery item was right after the 2010 launch, the Los Angeles Times reported it to be the cheese upon confirmation of SpaceX the next day.