• SpaceX to launch ‘world's most powerful rocket' with Tesla on board

    By: Mel Holt

    Updated:

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - January is shaping up to be a busy month on Florida's Space Coast.

     

    This weekend, SpaceX plans to launch a U.S. government payload, and before the end of the month, the company is planning a test flight for what will be the world's most powerful rocket.

     

    SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has promised an exciting maiden flight from Kennedy Space Center.

     

    Read: SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket before January launch

     

    Even as a SpaceX prepares for a weekend government launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the company's powerful Falcon Heavy is vertical on a historic NASA launchpad for a demonstration flight later this month.

    “I don't think there's any question there's been a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation, because of the significance of this capability,” said Dale Ketcham, Space Florida’s chief of strategic alliances.

     

    On Thursday night, Musk took to social media and said at 2,500 tons of thrust, the Falcon Heavy is equal to 18 Boeing 747 aircraft at full throttle.

     

    He added that there will be excitement on launch day, one way or another. 

    Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, has said there is a good chance the new rocket could blow up, thus his own personal property will be the payload on top: his Tesla Roadster.

    “In classic Elon fashion, he's downplaying expectations that it might blow up. And it certainly might. This is a brand new vehicle with 27 engines having to work in sync,” said Ketcham.

     

    The Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V, which took us to the moon.

     

    The rocket is designed to get heavy payloads into space and restores the possibility of flying manned missions to the moon or Mars.

     

    “Having that capability is a critical part of growing the U.S. space program and certainly the capabilities of the Cape Canaveral space port to become a more dominant part of the future,” Ketcham said.

     

    Next Up: