SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bazza's Avatar
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    Exclaim SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.

    With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)---a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel--Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

    Falcon Heavy's first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.

    Following liftoff, the two side boosters separate from the center core and return to landing sites for future reuse. The center core, traveling further and faster than the side boosters, also returns for reuse, but lands on a drone ship located in the Atlantic Ocean. At max velocity the Roadster will travel 11 km/s (7mi/s) and travel 400 million km (250 million mi) from Earth.

    Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.


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    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bazza's Avatar
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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    On Wednesday, Jan. 24th, 2018 SpaceX completed the first static fire test of the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.


  3. #3

    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful currently operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.
    FIFY

    The Falcon Heavy is a BEAST, but I wish they would drop the 'most powerful rocket' stuff:

    - Falcon Heavy lift capacity to LEO: 140,700 lb
    - The Saturn V lift capacity to LEO: 310,000 lb
    - The Space Shuttle lift capacity to LEO: 270,100 lb

    Nit-picky, I know - and I'm a BIG SpaceX fan - but I wish they'd clarify that a bit. I've seen quite a few non-space-geek people claiming the Falcon Heavy the 'most powerful rocket ever' - Saturn V ate it's lunch.
    Last edited by crimsonaudio; February 5th, 2018 at 05:00 PM.
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    BamaNation All-American Elefantman's Avatar
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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    He did say operational rocket.
    "I'm a loner. And a loner has got to be alone"
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  5. #5

    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Quote Originally Posted by Elefantman View Post
    He did say operational rocket.
    True, just a hot button thing for me lately. I can't tell you how many articles I've see calling it the 'most powerful ever'.
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Why can it lift twice the payload at one third the cost of our Delta IV? Especially since the Delta IV is designed by NASA which is the richest country in the world's space program.

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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Quote Originally Posted by crimsonaudio View Post
    True, just a hot button thing for me lately. I can't tell you how many articles I've see calling it the 'most powerful ever'.
    Well the Apollo program was all fake so....
    "I'm a loner. And a loner has got to be alone"
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  8. #8

    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Quote Originally Posted by uafanataum View Post
    Why can it lift twice the payload at one third the cost of our Delta IV? Especially since the Delta IV is designed by NASA which is the richest country in the world's space program.
    Basically it's due to their designs and the fuel they use. Here's a pretty good breakdown:

    The rocket equation doesn't care about "amounts" of something. It cares only about mass fractions. Liquid hydrogen has an extremely low density. That means in order to get a given mass of fuel, you need a huge volume to hold it, and therefore huge tanks. That's why the Delta appears so large.

    The Falcon Heavy uses a propellant that's much more dense. That means it needs less tank volume to hold a given mass of fuel. In fact, due to being of similar size to the Delta, it manages to hold significantly more fuel by mass. If you compared the weight of a fully fueled Delta IV Heavy and a fully fuelled Falcon Heavy, the latter is much more massive. Wikipedia says 733,000 kg (Delta) versus 1,462,836 kg (FH). The Falcon is literally twice as heavy.

    Because it has so much more propellant mass, the Falcon Heavy can lift a greater payload into low Earth orbit.

    But there's a reason the Delta IV uses liquid hydrogen: it's a much better fuel. LH2/LO2 combustion (also called hydrolox for a shorthand) is by far the best (sane) rocket fuel that exists in the world, by efficiency. The RS-68A engines on the Delta get an Isp of 365s (ASL) - 414s (vac)... and that's for a fairly cheap, low-effort engine. If you really put engineering effort to it, you get something like the Space Shuttle's engine, the RS-25: Isp 366s (ASL) - 453s (vac). Now compare the Falcon Heavy that must make do with kerosene-burning Merlin engines... no matter how well you build those, they just can't compare. The Merlin 1D manages an Isp of 282s (ASL) - 311s (vac).

    This is also the reason why the Falcon Heavy's performance takes such a sharp nosedive as soon as you try to go beyond low Earth orbit. The extreme Isp advantage and low weight of the hydrogen-fueled DCSS (Delta Cryogenic Second Stage) just walks all over the heavy, kerosene-fueled Falcon upper stages in space. SpaceX took a Merlin and bolted a large vacuum bell onto it, calling it Merlin 1D Vacuum ("MVac"), but that still only improves the Isp to 340s... simply not competitive with dedicated hydrogen vacuum engines which can get as high as 465s.
    IIRC, most of the Delta IV launches have been military (and most commonly GTO), so the short answer is they're different rockets to solve different problems.
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame Jon's Avatar
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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    I love the payload


    "There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist." - Terry Pratchett

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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    I love the payload


    Hauling the extension cord for recharging is going to be a bugger.
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  11. #11
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bazza's Avatar
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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Quote Originally Posted by crimsonaudio View Post
    FIFY

    The Falcon Heavy is a BEAST, but I wish they would drop the 'most powerful rocket' stuff:

    - Falcon Heavy lift capacity to LEO: 140,700 lb
    - The Saturn V lift capacity to LEO: 310,000 lb
    - The Space Shuttle lift capacity to LEO: 270,100 lb

    Nit-picky, I know - and I'm a BIG SpaceX fan - but I wish they'd clarify that a bit. I've seen quite a few non-space-geek people claiming the Falcon Heavy the 'most powerful rocket ever' - Saturn V ate it's lunch.
    Hey thinks for your comments, Brad. All input is good input, as far as this subject matter is concerned!

    Here's a cool video of the Saturn V at work taking Apollo 11 to the moon on July 16, 1969.

    We moved to Florida in January of 1970 and lived about 30 miles north of the cape, so were fortunate enough to see a few of the launches in person using this "beast"....


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    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    And on the subject of that Saturn V rocket - they have one on display at the rocket and space museum at Cape Canaveral, in case you are in the area - worth checking out - very impressive!


  13. #13

    Re: SpaceX Heavy rocket launch - Tuesday Feb. 6 at 1:30pm ET

    Yah, I grew up in Orlando (Lake Mary, actually), so we were about 30 miles from the Cape. Knew quite a few engineers who worked out there, saw a lot of shuttle launches over the years. Toured the cape multiple times. I miss being so close to the launches!
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

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