Elon Musk took to social media late last night to announce the Falcon Heavy—SpaceX’s newest rocket model—will make its first flight this November.
When the Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the world’s most powerful rocket. Powered by 27 Merlin engines, SpaceX said the rocket will be capable of lifting more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle—the Delta IV Heavy—at one-third the cost.
In a series of tweets, Musk said that the rocket’s side boosters are to be safely returned to the Kennedy Space Center after the launch and reused for future flights while the centre will land on the droneship.
Sides run high thrust, center is lower thrust until sides separate & fly back. Center then throttles up, keeps burning & lands on droneship.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 28, 2017
After stating the intended plan for the Falcon Heavy, Musk added, “If we’re lucky.”
Last week at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference, Musk admitted that it is likely the Falcon Heavy’s debut flight will result in failure. He said if the launch pad escapes any damage, he’d “consider even that a win.”
This isn’t the first time Musk announced the vehicle’s launch. In 2011, Musk announced the rocket’s first mission was planned for 2013 or 2014.