Falcon Heavy: Elon Musk Tweets First Look at Rocket

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted Wednesday the first pictures of the company’s new Falcon Heavy rocket, which is scheduled for a test flight in January. 

The images showed several views of the rocket which is now being assembled at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Falcon Heavy uses two side booster rockets to lift the central core into low earth orbit and deliver a payload of up to 119,000 pounds, according to Space.com.

The rocket is the most powerful in the U.S. since NASA’s Saturn V moon rocket and also is made to be reusable, with all three boosters being capable of flying back to Earth and landing like the Falcon 9 rockets now made by SpaceX. It stands 230 feet tall when assembled.

Falcon Heavy's core booster was fired in May as a test. Musk has said that he’s not sure the rocket will be successful on its first flight because of the complexity of its construction, but a launch of his own personal 2008 red Tesla Roadster into a trajectory toward Mars orbit is planned.  

“There’s a lot of risk associated with Falcon Heavy,” Musk said, USA Today reported. “Real good chance that the vehicle doesn’t make it to orbit. I want to make sure to set expectations accordingly.”

If the test launch is successful, SpaceX plans to launch two astronauts into orbit around the moon inside a Dragon space capsule by the end of 2018, Space.com reported. 

“I encourage people to come down to the Cape to see the first Falcon Heavy mission. It’s guaranteed to be exciting,” Musk said, USA Today reported.

Fans left a flurry of comments on Musk’s tweet, analyzing the photos and saying how amazing the rocket is.