KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — If SpaceX were run by anybody other than serial entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk, its last year might have earned it the name of another Musk venture: the boring company.
Month after month, the company formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launches
Tuesday afternoon, however, SpaceX has something novel planned: a first launch of the
And because SpaceX is, in fact, run by the quirky fellow behind Tesla (
The privately-developed Falcon Heavy stands almost 230 feet tall and weighs almost 3.1 million pounds, with a first stage that looks like the Falcon 9 in triplicate: three boosters with nine engines each. Standing Monday afternoon at Launch Complex 39A — the site of most Saturn V and space shuttle launches — the Falcon Heavy gleamed in the sun, dwarfing technicians and visitors around its base.
Powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen, this rocket is designed to send a maximum of just over 70 tons to low earth orbit, about 29 tons to the geosynchronous orbit used by communications satellites, and roughly 19 tons to Mars.