Credit: SpaceX

The soon-to-launch SpaceX Falcon Heavy is billed by the company as the world’s most powerful operational rocket. Its maiden flight is slated for November, rocketing off pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

No matter how you look at it – Falcon Heavy is a big deal.

Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores adding up to 27 Merlin engines.

The twenty-seven Merlin engines that power Falcon Heavy’s three cores are arranged in an “Octaweb” structure.
Credit: SpaceX

Excitement guaranteed

“There’s a lot that could go wrong there. I encourage people to come down to the Cape to see the first Falcon Heavy mission. It’s guaranteed to be exciting,” said Elon Musk founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX.

“I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it doesn’t cause pad damage,” Musk said. “I would consider even that a win to be honest. Yeah…a major pucker factor really is the only way to describe it.”

Cluster busters

Soviet Union’s N-1 Moon rocket – cluster of engines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturn V booster with its cluster of five F-1 engines.
Credit: NASA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Soyuz booster is rolled out to the launch pad by train on Monday, April 17, 2017 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocketry’s “Big Bang” theory?

What’s at stake? What’s behind “clusterphobia”?

Check out my new Space.com story at:

‘Major Pucker Factor’: Will SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Ace Its Maiden Launch?

https://www.space.com/38016-spacex-falcon-heavy-rocket-maiden-launch-success-chances.html

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