Not getting to see the most powerful rocket in the world – SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy – meet its anticipated launch this year didn’t mean that the Southern California based space startup wasn’t making serious progress on the rocket. As a reward for our patience, the company released a teaser pic showing progress being made on the interstage of the rocket from the factory floor.
The close up shot almost takes away from the awe-inspiring size of what is three Falcon 9 rockets strapped into one, but if you take into account the tiny humans in the background, you can still get some perspective.
As a recap, Falcon Heavy is SpaceX’s answer to the weighty payload requirements of many potential customers. Upon completion, Falcon Heavy will be capable of lifting 54,400 kg of cargo into low-Earth orbit. That’s about twice the capability of the NASA space shuttle or Delta IV Heavy, and will further make it the most powerful rocket in flight.
SpaceX previously released an animation of the final Falcon Heavy launch sequence in January 2015.
For reference, the interstage pictured on SpaceX’s Instagram is between the middle booster and the payload on top and contains the Merlin vacuum (space) engine. SpaceX’s website contains an interactive graphic for an even more detailed look.
The “to-do” list for SpaceX is long for 2017 with a return-to-flight planned for January, a re-launch of a returned Falcon 9 booster, a Falcon Heavy launch aimed at mid-year, and the ongoing work on Crew Dragon for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Thanks for the peak, SpaceX.