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Falcon Heavy Rocket- Launched by Elon Musk-owned SpaceX

Falcon Heavy Rocket- Relevance for UPSC Exam

Falcon Heavy Rocket: Falcon Heavy Rocket is SpaceX Rocket which is important for Scientific discovery in outer space area. Falcon Heavy Rocket is important for UPSC Prelims Exam (International News/Science and Technology) and UPSC Mains Exam (Development in the field of Science and technology).


Falcon Heavy Rocket in News

  • Recently, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into a geosynchronous Earth orbit from the Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, U.S.
  • This is the fourth launch of the giant rocket system, and the first one in nearly three years since its last launch in 2019.


What is Falcon Heavy Rocket?- Key Specifications

  • SpaceX claims Falcon Heavy to be the most powerful rocket in the world today by a factor of two.
  • With a lifting capacity of around 64 metric tonnes into orbit, Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy.
  • The rocket has a height of 70 m, a width of 12.2 m and a mass of 1,420,788 kg.
  • Falcon Heavy has 27 Merlin engines which together generate more than five million pounds of thrust at lift-off, equalling around eighteen 747 aircraft at full power.
    • This makes it the most capable rocket flying.
  • The rocket can lift the equivalent of a fully loaded 737 jetliner, complete with passengers, luggage and fuel, to orbit.


Tracing the Falcon Heavy Rocket’s Previous Launches

  • SpaceX last launched its Falcon Heavy rocket in June 2019 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
    • It carried 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2.
  • The satellites included four NASA technology and science payloads to study non-toxic spacecraft fuel, deep space navigation, “bubbles” in the electrically-charged layers of Earth’s upper atmosphere, and radiation protection for satellites.
  • The space agency said that the mission was useful for smarter spacecraft design and benefitted the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration plans by providing greater insight into the effects of radiation in space.
  • It also tested out an atomic clock that could change how spacecraft navigates and looked at how the space environment around the Earth affects us.


Future Launches of SpaceX

  • SpaceX is said to be working on even bigger rockets. The company is targeting early December to launch its giant Starship rocket system.
  • These test flights of Starship are all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to-
    • Carry both crew and cargo on long-duration interplanetary flights, and
    • Help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.
  • The Musk-owned company claimed Starship to be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry an excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.


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