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Falcon Heavy: SpaceX set to test 'most powerful rocket'

Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket to launch since the Saturn V rocket which was used in the 1970s.

Falcon Heavy's launch

SpaceX is set to conduct a test launch of what aims to become the world's most powerful rocket in use, the Falcon Heavy, which could one day be used to take supplies to the Moon or Mars.

The space company wants to bring a car - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Tesla roadster - a mannequin in a spacesuit and a playlist consisting of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" into the orbit of Mars.

The highly anticipated launch on Tuesday will be broadcast on SpaceX's YouTube channel. Weather permitting; it will take place somewhere between 18:30 and 21:00 GMT.

"About 2.5 hours to T-0 for Falcon Heavy. Watch sim for highlight reel of what we hope happens. Car actually takes 6 months to cover 200M+ miles to Mars", Musk, who is also the CEO of electric car company Tesla, said on Twitter.

"[The] payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. [The] destination is Mars orbit. [It] will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent," he added.

Falcon Heavy is the largest rocket since NASA's Saturn V booster, which was used for the Moon missions in the 1970s.

It will generate about five million pounds of thrust during its takeoff, which, according to SpaceX, is equal to about 18 Boeing 747 airplanes.

The three booster rockets used by Falcon Heavy to generate this power will land back on Earth, if all goes according to plan.

SpaceX was the first company to successfully launch and land a booster rocket - the Falcon 9 - that was sent into space.

That rocket is now being used to bring satellites into orbit and resupply the International Space Station.

The landing capability of Falcon 9 allows for quick reuse of the boosters, which has led to lower costs and less time between launches.

However, with its more powerful rockets, Falcon Heavy is expected to be a first step to future missions to the Moon and even Mars.

The launch will take place at NASA's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida, the spot also used for the Apollo 11 moon mission and several space shuttle launches.


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