Falcon Heavy
An artist's illustration of the Falcon Heavy rocket and the Dragon spacecraft taking off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. SpaceX

SpaceX has been busy this year, completing multiple launches for other countries and resupply missions for NASA to the International Space Station but the company has also been working on its Falcon Heavy rocket.

The rocket is currently in the testing stages and the three first-stage cores were tested last week in McGregor, Texas, according to an Instagram post from the company. The post was accompanied by a video of the cores firing with a side booster from a previous launch to the ISS.

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and founder, has previously posted on Instagram that he expects the first test launch of the rocket to happen in November, just a few months away. There is no date set for the launch yet, but once there is it’s likely Musk will post it on Twitter or Instagram. When the Falcon Heavy does successfully launch, it will be the most powerful rocket on the planet in use.

The first stage of the Falcon Heavy is made up of three cores that have 27 engines and can create 5.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. The three engine cores are each made of nine Merlin engines, this is what the Falcon 9 rockets are made of as well. Meaning the Falcon Heavy is essentially powered by three Falcon 9 launches. This makes it highly cost-efficient and capable of launching a 737 jet to orbit loaded with passengers, their luggage and fuel. It was created for the ultimate purpose of bringing humans to space and possible one day Mars or the moon, says SpaceX.

The price of using one of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rockets is a steep $90 million. There are several Falcon Heavy launches on SpaceX’s launch manifest for future missions but no dates listed yet. A flight animation of the rocket in use shows the three cores returning to Earth and landing upright, like the Falcon 9 rockets land currently.

Musk recognizes that his rockets haven’t had the best track record. When he posted about the Falcon Heavy’s upcoming test launch he also noted: “Lot that can go wrong in November launch… He also recently tweeted that there was a SpaceX blooper reel in the works. For all the attempts the Falcon 9 rocket made at landing upright either on one of the company’s autonomous drone ships or on land there were certainly times that it did not end in cheers from the control room.

Only time will tell whether Musk’s innovative rocket will launch in November but with test going well and succeeding it might be possible.