Elon Musk Unveils SpaceX’s Nearly Complete Falcon Heavy Rocket

December 20, 2017, 2:57 PM UTC

SpaceX’s Elon Musk has provided an update on his company’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Musk shared three images of the Falcon Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The images show a rocket that’s nearly complete and provide our best look yet at what it will look like as it prepares for its launch in January. The Verge earlier reported on Musk’s tweet.

The Falcon Heavy has been in the works for years and was expected to make its first test flight in 2013. However, after a string of delays and setbacks, its launch date was pushed back.

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The rocket itself is one of the most powerful rockets ever made and will be capable of carrying 140,000 pounds of cargo into space. It features three cores that work in unison to get the rocket into a low Earth orbit. After the mission is complete, the cores are designed to come back to Earth and be reused. That reusable element makes for more cost-effective flights.

As promising as the Falcon Heavy might be on paper, Musk has acknowledged that SpaceX’s hopes for the technology have been too lofty and actually getting the rocket to become reality has been much harder than he had anticipated. As The Verge points out, Musk has also been trying to temper expectations on the Falcon Heavy’s first launch. In July, he said he just hopes the rocket won’t “cause [launch] pad damage” when it takes off, adding that there’s a “good chance” it will fail.

The Falcon Heavy is slated to launch for the first time sometime in January. Musk didn’t say in his tweet exactly when the launch will happen.

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