A huge plume of smoke and thunderous roar signaled the success of the Falcon Heavy’s static fire test, putting Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster one step closer to a trip to Mars.
SpaceX ran a static fire of all 27 engines aboard the 3-million-pound behemoth today in preparation for its maiden voyage to space. The test, conducted in Cape Canaveral, Florida, was originally scheduled for Friday before the government shutdown put things on hold.
Everything appears to have gone to plan. The engines went off the moment SpaceX’s test window opened, suggesting there weren’t any major hiccups. On Twitter, Elon Musk said the test fire was “good” and that SpaceX will launch the rocket “in a week or so.” That puts it ahead of another potential government shutdown.
The launch of the Falcon Heavy will be a momentous moment in spaceflight history. Comprised of three Falcon 9s strapped together, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world—by a lot.
Given the risk of this inaugural flight, SpaceX needed to choose a “dummy payload” rather than an expensive satellite. It went with Musk’s very own midnight cherry Tesla Roadster, which will play “Space Oddity” all the way to the Red Planet. That is, if it makes it off the ground safely.