SpaceX announced via Twitter late Friday that it had completed ground testing of the first stage boosters for the Falcon Heavy, its new heavy-lift rocket. The Falcon Heavy, which is scheduled to get its first full-fledged test launch this Fall, is a key component of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s hyper-ambitious plan to colonize Mars.
No results of the test have been publicized. But the company noted in an Instagram post that one of the boosters used in the Falcon Heavy test had previously carried a Falcon 9 resupply mission to the International Space Station. Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9s yoked together, though that’s much more complex than it sounds.
That SpaceX would test an entirely new rocket using refurbished components may be the most remarkable part of the Friday test, demonstrating a truly unflinching commitment to the premise of reusability that Musk hopes will eventually make trips to Mars affordable for at least some civilians.
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The Falcon Heavy, when it goes into service, would become the most powerful rocket in use, and is considered by some the successor to NASA’s Saturn V heavy lift rocket, which was retired in 1973.
Musk announced in July that the company was working towards a November launch of the new rocket. He has also said that there’s a good chance that initial launch could easily go awry, in part because tests like Friday’s can only partially prepare for the complexity of a full launch.
In the same tech-world spirit of moving fast and breaking (really, really expensive) things, Musk also tweeted last week that he’s assembling a “blooper reel” of failed Falcon 9 rocket landings.