SpaceX targets Falcon Heavy test flight launch for Feb

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SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket - the self-proclaimed "most powerful rocket in the world" - completed its static fire test on Wednesday afternoon, paving the way for its inaugural test flight before the end of the month.

He added that the mega-rocket's maiden launch could be just a week away or so.

Overall, SES-16/GovSat1 will be the second mission for SpaceX in 2018 in a year that promises to be quite busy for the commercial company - with close to 30 launches planned this year between the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. "Launching in a week or so".

Falcon Heavy will generate over five million pounds of thrust at lift-off via three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores containing 27 Merlin engines that are configured with eight engines surrounding one centre engine on each core.

The static fire test clears the way for Falcon Heavy's upcoming launch after it ignited all its 27 engines on the launcher's first stage for about 10 seconds to check if they are flight-ready.

Musk tweeted out the flight is aimed for February 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy.

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The Falcon Heavy can carry the biggest payload since the Apollo lunar programme's Saturn V - and is viewed as an essential step in Musk's plan to establish a human colony on Mars.

Like Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy is created to be reusable and both platforms share SpaceX's composite payload fairing that protects satellites during delivery to low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous transfer orbit.

For this first launch, the outer rocket cores are refurbished Falcon 9 first-stage boosters from previous launches.

SpaceX is aiming for a February launch. Once Musk announces an official launch date, the promises initially made in 2013 will be fulfilled.

The Falcon Heavy can carry one of the largest payloads in the history of space travel.

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