SpaceX is about to launch the world\’s most powerful rocket

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 Falcon 9 rockets without incident. Most of these missions include their first stages flying themselves back to a landing pad or seaborne platform, a feat of routine reusability that eludes space agencies around the world.

Tuesday afternoon, however, SpaceX has something novel planned: a first launch of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket built in America since the Saturn V that sent NASA astronauts to the moon.

And because SpaceX is, in fact, run by the quirky fellow behind Tesla (TSLA), Solar City and the urban-tunneling experiment known as The Boring Company, the Falcon Heavy will lift an oddball payload: Musk’s own Tesla Roadster, with three cameras onboard to stream its trip to a solar orbit that will leave it cycling between Earth and Mars.

Heavy metal

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.

That roughly doubles the payload of the Delta IV Heavy built and launched by United Space Alliance, the joint venture of Boeing (BA span></a><span style=&quot;font-weight:400;&quo

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