Still basking in the glow of the successful launch of his first reusable rocket, Elon Musk has been sharing a few details about the demonstration flight of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket, likely coming later this year.
This is the company’s much anticipated heavy lift vehicle, composed of three Falcon 9 cores, and which would immediately become the most powerful rocket in the world.
Perhaps the biggest tidbit is that SpaceX may try to recover the upper stage of the rocket during the launch.
Composed of a single Merlin engine—a vacuum-rated version of the nine engines used on the Falcon 9 first stage—the second stage of the rocket delivers the payload to orbit after the main engines cut off. Pulling off such a recovery would be difficult, but would close the company’s much desired loop of reusability by bringing back the first stage, the payload fairing, and the second stage of a launch vehicle.
This would essentially allow SpaceX to recycle an entire rocket.
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