SpaceX is well on its way to making single rocket landings a boring thing of the past. Having made history on many accounts by landing its Falcon 9 rocket back on earth after traveling into space, SpaceX is on its way to tripling the fun with its new Falcon Heavy rocket.
The Falcon Heavy will become the word’s most powerful rocket. With three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, the Falcon Heavy will have enough thrust to carry a 54 ton payload up into space. With plans to embark on its maiden voyage in November of this year, Space X will require additional landing zones when the heavy-lift rocket returns to land.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, SpaceX is seeking federal permission for for two new areas for landing spent rockets. A representative from Elon Musk’s space company tells the Sentinel, “SpaceX expects to fly Falcon Heavy for the first time later this year, we are also seeking regulatory approval to build two additional landing pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. We hope to recover all three Falcon Heavy rockets, though initially we may attempt drone ship landings”.
Can't wait to see all three cores of Falcon Heavy come back for landings! First two will be almost simultaneous. https://t.co/ryMiewZM4L
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2016
When the Falcon Heavy flies for the first time, it will use the historic Launch Area 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center off the coast of Cape Canaveral Florida, the place where Apollo 11 began its historic journey in 1969. The launch site has been upgraded by SpaceX for the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missions.
With every successful landing SpaceX achieves, the company continues to drive down the cost of commercial space flight by recycling the use of previously flown rockets. The space company has completed five landings to date; three at sea and two on land, with the most recent being this past Monday when a Falcon 9 rocket touched down on land after delivering a critical component for NASA to the International Space Station.
The following animation produced by SpaceX shows what a Falcon Heavy launch may look like.