|Function||Orbital heavy-lift launch vehicle|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Cost per launch|
|Height||70 m (230 ft)|
|Diameter||3.66 m (12.0 ft)|
|Width||12.2 m (40 ft)|
|Mass||1,420,788 kg (3,132,301 lb)|
|Payload to LEO (28.5°)||63,800 kg (140,700 lb)|
|Payload to GTO (27°)||26,700 kg (58,900 lb)|
|Payload to Mars||16,800 kg (37,000 lb)|
|Payload to Pluto||3,500 kg (7,700 lb)|
|Landings||2 / 3 attempts|
|First flight||February 6, 2018|
|Engines||9 Merlin 1D per booster|
Sea level: 7.6 MN (1,700,000 lbf) (each) |
Vacuum: 8.2 MN (1,800,000 lbf) (each)
Sea level: 15.2 MN (3,400,000 lbf) |
Vacuum: 16.4 MN (3,700,000 lbf)
Sea level: 282 seconds |
Vacuum: 311 seconds
|Burn time||154 seconds|
|Fuel||Subcooled LOX / Chilled RP-1|
|Engines||9 Merlin 1D|
Sea level: 7.6 MN (1,700,000 lbf) |
Vacuum: 8.2 MN (1,800,000 lbf)
Sea level: 282 seconds |
Vacuum: 311 seconds
|Burn time||187 seconds|
|Fuel||Subcooled LOX / Chilled RP-1|
|Engines||1 Merlin 1D Vacuum|
|Thrust||934 kN (210,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||348 seconds|
|Burn time||397 seconds|
|Fuel||LOX / RP-1|
Falcon Heavy is a partially reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX. It is derived from the Falcon 9 vehicle and consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 first stage as a central core with two additional first stages as strap-on boosters. Falcon Heavy has the highest payload capacity of any currently operational launch vehicle, and the fourth-highest capacity of any rocket ever built, trailing the American Saturn V and the Soviet Energia and N1.
SpaceX conducted Falcon Heavy's maiden launch on February 6, 2018, at 3:45 p.m. EST (20:45 UTC). The rocket carried a Tesla Roadster belonging to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, as a dummy payload. The next Falcon Heavy launch is scheduled for November 19, 2018.
Falcon Heavy was designed to carry humans into space beyond low Earth orbit, although as of February 2018[update] Musk does not plan to apply for a human-rating certification to carry NASA astronauts. Falcon Heavy and other current Falcon launch vehicles are poised to be replaced by the BFR ("Big Falcon Rocket") by the early 2020s.
Concepts for a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle were initially discussed as early as 2004. SpaceX unveiled the plan for the Falcon Heavy to the public at a Washington DC news conference in April 2011, with initial test flight expected in 2013.
A number of factors delayed the planned maiden flight by 5 years to 2018, including two anomalies with Falcon 9 launch vehicles, which required all engineering resources to be dedicated to failure analysis, halting flight operations for many months. The integration and structural challenges of combining three Falcon 9 cores were much more difficult than expected.
In July 2017, Elon Musk said, "It actually ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought. ... Really way, way more difficult than we originally thought. We were pretty naive about that."
Conception and fundingEdit
Musk mentioned Falcon Heavy in a September 2005 news update, referring to a customer request from 18 months prior. Various solutions using the planned Falcon 5 had been explored, but the only cost-effective, reliable iteration was one that used a 9-engine first stage – the Falcon 9. The Falcon Heavy was developed with private capital with Musk stating that the cost was more than $500 million. No government financing was provided for its development.
Design and developmentEdit
The Falcon Heavy design is based on Falcon 9's fuselage and engines.
By 2008, SpaceX had been aiming for the first launch of Falcon 9 in 2009, while "Falcon 9 Heavy would be in a couple of years". Speaking at the 2008 Mars Society Conference, Musk also indicated that he expected a hydrogen-fueled upper stage would follow 2–3 years later (which would have been around 2013).
By April 2011, the capabilities and performance of the Falcon 9 vehicle were better understood, SpaceX having completed two successful demonstration missions to LEO, one of which included reignition of the second-stage engine. At a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. on April 5, 2011, Musk stated that Falcon Heavy would "carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V Moon rocket ... and Soviet Energia rocket". In the same year, with the expected increase in demand for both variants, SpaceX announced plans to expand manufacturing capacity "as we build towards the capability of producing a Falcon 9 first stage or Falcon Heavy side booster every week and an upper stage every two weeks".
In 2015, SpaceX announced a number of changes to the Falcon Heavy rocket, worked in parallel to the upgrade of the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle. In December 2016, SpaceX released a photo showing the Falcon Heavy interstage at the company headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
By May 2013, a new, partly underground test stand was being built at the SpaceX Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas, specifically to test the triple cores and twenty-seven rocket engines of the Falcon Heavy. By May 2017, SpaceX conducted the first static fire test of flight-design Falcon Heavy center core at the McGregor facility.
In July 2017, Musk discussed publicly the challenges of testing a complex launch vehicle like the three-core Falcon Heavy, indicating that a large extent of the new design "is really impossible to test on the ground" and could not be effectively tested independent of actual flight tests.
In April 2011, Musk was planning for a first launch of Falcon Heavy from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the West Coast in 2013. SpaceX refurbished Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg AFB to accommodate Falcon 9 and Heavy. The first launch from the Cape Canaveral East Coast launch complex was planned for late 2013 or 2014.
Due partly to the failure of SpaceX CRS-7 in June 2015, SpaceX rescheduled the maiden Falcon Heavy flight in September 2015 to occur no earlier than April 2016, but by February 2016 had postponed it again to late 2016. The flight was to be launched from the refurbished Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.
A second demonstration flight is scheduled for November 2018 with the STP-2 U.S. Air Force payload. Operational GTO missions for Intelsat and Inmarsat, which were planned for late 2017, were moved to the Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket version as it had become powerful enough to lift those heavy payloads in its expendable configuration. The first commercial GTO mission is also scheduled in December 2018 or January 2019 for Arabsat.
At a July 2017 meeting of the International Space Station Research and Development meeting in Washington, D.C., Musk downplayed expectations for the success of the maiden flight:
There's a real good chance the vehicle won't make it to orbit ... I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest.
Musk went on to say the integration and structural challenges of combining three Falcon 9 cores were much more difficult than expected. The plan was for all three cores to land back on Earth after launch.
In December 2017, Musk tweeted that the dummy payload on the maiden Falcon Heavy launch would be his personal Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's "Life on Mars", and that it would be launched into an orbit around the Sun that will reach the orbit of Mars. He released pictures in the following days. The car had three cameras attached to provide "epic views".
On December 28, 2017, the Falcon Heavy was moved to the launch pad in preparation of a static fire test of all 27 engines, which was expected on January 19, 2018. However, due to the U.S. government shutdown that began on January 20, the testing and launch were further delayed.
On February 6, 2018, after a delay of over two hours due to high winds, Falcon Heavy lifted off at 3:45pm EST. Its side boosters landed safely on Landing Zones 1 and 2 a few minutes later. However, only one of the three engines on the center booster that were intended to restart, ignited during its descent, causing it to hit the water next to the droneship at a speed of over 480 km/h (300 mph).
Initially Elon Musk tweeted that the Roadster had overshot its planned heliocentric orbit, and would reach the asteroid belt. In fact, observations by telescopes showed that the Roadster would only slightly exceed the orbit of Mars at aphelion.
The Heavy configuration consists of a structurally strengthened Falcon 9 as the "core" component, with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid fuel strap-on boosters, which is conceptually similar to EELV Delta IV Heavy launcher and proposals for the Atlas V Heavy and Russian Angara A5V. Falcon Heavy has more lift capability than any other operational rocket, with a payload of 64,000 kilograms (141,000 lb) to low earth orbit and 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) to trans-Mars injection. The rocket was designed to meet or exceed all current requirements of human rating. The structural safety margins are 40% above flight loads, higher than the 25% margins of other rockets. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and it would restore the possibility of flying crewed missions to the Moon or Mars.
The first stage is powered by three Falcon 9 derived cores, each equipped with nine Merlin 1D engines. The Falcon Heavy has a total sea-level thrust at liftoff of 22,819 kN (5,130,000 lbf), from the 27 Merlin 1D engines, while thrust rises to 24,681 kN (5,549,000 lbf) as the craft climbs out of the atmosphere. The upper stage is powered by a single Merlin 1D engine modified for vacuum operation, with a thrust of 934 kN (210,000 lbf), an expansion ratio of 117:1 and a nominal burn time of 397 seconds. At launch the center core throttles to full power for a few seconds for additional thrust, then throttles down. This allows a longer burn time. After the side boosters separate, the center core throttles back up to maximum thrust. For added reliability of restart, the engine has dual redundant pyrophoric igniters (TEA-TEB). The interstage, which connects the upper and lower stage for Falcon 9, is a carbon fiber aluminum core composite structure. Stage separation occurs via reusable separation collets and a pneumatic pusher system. The Falcon 9 tank walls and domes are made from aluminium-lithium alloy. SpaceX uses an all-friction stir welded tank. The second stage tank of Falcon 9 is simply a shorter version of the first stage tank and uses most of the same tooling, material and manufacturing techniques. This approach reduces manufacturing costs during vehicle production.
All three cores of the Falcon Heavy arrange the engines in a structural form SpaceX calls Octaweb, aimed at streamlining the manufacturing process, and each core includes four extensible landing legs. To control the descent of the boosters and center core through the atmosphere, SpaceX uses small grid fins which deploy from the vehicle after separation. Immediately after the side boosters separate, the center engine in each burns for a few seconds in order to control the booster’s trajectory safely away from the rocket. The legs then deploy as the boosters turn back to Earth, landing each softly on the ground. The center core continues to fire until stage separation, after which its legs deploy and land back on Earth on a drone ship. The landing legs are made of carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb structure. The four legs stow along the sides of each core during liftoff and later extend outward and down for landing.
The partially reusable Falcon Heavy falls into the heavy-lift range of launch systems, capable of lifting 20 to 50 metric tons into low Earth orbit (LEO), under the classification system used by a NASA human spaceflight review panel. A fully expendable Falcon Heavy may also reach the super heavy-lift category (above 50 metric tons to LEO).
The initial concept (Falcon 9-S9 2005) envisioned payloads of 24,750 kg (54,560 lb) to LEO, but by April 2011 this was projected to be up to 53,000 kg (117,000 lb) with GTO payloads up to 12,000 kg (26,000 lb). Later reports in 2011 projected higher payloads beyond LEO, including 19,000 kilograms (42,000 lb) to geostationary transfer orbit, 16,000 kg (35,000 lb) to translunar trajectory, and 14,000 kg (31,000 lb) on a trans-Martian orbit to Mars.
By late 2013, SpaceX raised the projected GTO payload for Falcon Heavy to up to 21,200 kg (46,700 lb).
In April 2017, the projected LEO payload for Falcon Heavy was raised from 54,400 kg (119,900 lb) to 63,800 kg (140,700 lb). The maximum payload is achieved when the rocket flies a fully expendable launch profile, not recovering any of the three first-stage boosters. With just the core booster expended, and two side-boosters recovered, Musk estimates the payload penalty to be around 10%, which would still yield over 57 tonnes of lift capability to LEO.
|Destination||Falcon Heavy||Falcon 9|
to Apr 2016
to Mar 2017
|Since Apr 2017|
|LEO (28.5°)||53,000 kg||54,400 kg||63,800 kg||22,800 kg|
|GTO (27°)||21,200 kg||22,200 kg||26,700 kg||8,300 kg|
|GTO (27°) reusable||6,400 kg||6,400 kg||8,000 kg||5,500 kg|
|Mars||13,200 kg||13,600 kg||16,800 kg||4,020 kg|
|Pluto||–||2,900 kg||3,500 kg||–|
From 2013 to 2016, SpaceX conducted parallel development of a reusable rocket architecture for Falcon 9, that applies to parts of Falcon Heavy as well.
Early on, SpaceX had expressed hopes that all rocket stages would eventually be reusable. SpaceX has since demonstrated routine land and sea recovery of the Falcon 9 first stage, and has made attempts to recover the payload fairing. In the case of Falcon Heavy, the two outer cores separate from the rocket earlier in the flight, and are thus moving at a lower velocity than in a Falcon 9 launch profile. For the first flight of Falcon Heavy, SpaceX had considered attempting to recover the second stage, but did not execute this plan.
SpaceX has indicated that the Falcon Heavy payload performance to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) will be reduced due to the addition of the reusable technology, but the rocket would fly at a much lower price. When recovering all three booster cores, GTO payload is 8,000 kg (18,000 lb). If only the two outside cores are recovered while the center core is expended, GTO payload would be approximately 16,000 kg (35,000 lb). As a comparison, the next-heaviest contemporary rocket, the fully expendable Delta IV Heavy, can deliver 14,210 kg (31,330 lb) to GTO.
Falcon Heavy was originally designed with a unique "propellant crossfeed" capability, whereby the center core engines would be supplied with fuel and oxidizer from the two side cores until their separation. Operating all engines at full thrust from launch, with fuel supplied mainly from the side boosters, would deplete the side boosters sooner, allowing their earlier separation. This would in turn leave most of the center core propellant available after booster separation, with a lighter load to accelerate. The propellant crossfeed system was originally proposed in a 1998 book on orbital mechanics by Tom Logsdon, and nicknamed "asparagus staging".
Musk stated in 2016 that crossfeed would not be implemented. Instead, the center booster throttles down shortly after liftoff to conserve fuel, and resumes full thrust after the side boosters have separated.
At an appearance in May 2004 before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Musk testified, "Long term plans call for development of a heavy lift product and even a super-heavy, if there is customer demand. We expect that each size increase would result in a meaningful decrease in cost per pound to orbit. ... Ultimately, I believe $500 per pound or less is very achievable." This $1,100 per kilogram ($500/lb) goal stated by Musk in 2011 is 35% of the cost of the lowest-cost-per-pound LEO-capable launch system in a circa-2000 study: the Zenit, a medium-lift launch vehicle that can carry 14,000 kilograms (30,000 lb) into LEO.
As of March 2013[update], Falcon Heavy launch prices were below $2,200/kg ($1,000/lb) to low-Earth orbit when the launch vehicle is transporting its maximum delivered cargo weight. The published prices for Falcon Heavy launches have changed somewhat from year to year, with announced prices for the various versions of Falcon Heavy priced at $80–125 million in 2011, $83–128M in 2012, $77–135M in 2013, $85M for up to 6,400 kg (14,100 lb) to GTO in 2014, $90M for up to 8,000 kg (18,000 lb) to GTO in 2016, and $150M for 63,800 kg (140,700 lb) to LEO or 26,700 kg (58,900 lb) to GTO (fully expendable)，or $95M for 90% of its maximum capacity in 2018. Launch contracts typically reflect launch prices at the time the contract is signed. In 2011, SpaceX stated that the cost of reaching low Earth orbit could be as low as $2,200/kg ($1,000/lb) if an annual rate of four launches can be sustained, and as of 2011 planned to eventually launch as many as 10 Falcon Heavies and 10 Falcon 9s annually. A third launch site, intended exclusively for SpaceX private use, is planned at Boca Chica Village, Texas. SpaceX started construction on the third Falcon Heavy launch facility in 2014, with the first launches from the facility no earlier than late 2018. In late 2013, SpaceX had projected Falcon Heavy's inaugural flight to be in 2014, but it did not occur until February 2018 due to limited manufacturing capacity and the need to deliver on the Falcon 9 launch manifest.
By late 2013, SpaceX prices for space launch were already the lowest in the industry. SpaceX's price for reused spacecraft could be reduced up to 30% short term, and potentially even further in the future.
Launches and payloadsEdit
Due to improvements to the performance of Falcon 9, some of the heavier satellites flown to GTO, such as Intelsat 35e and Inmarsat-5 F4, ended up being launched before the debut of Falcon Heavy. SpaceX anticipated the first commercial Falcon Heavy launch would be three to six months after a successful maiden flight, but the second and third missions were delayed towards the end of 2018.
|Flight №||Launch date||Payload||Customer||Outcome||Remarks|
|1||February 6, 2018,
|Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster||SpaceX||Success||Musk's Roadster was sent to a trans-Mars injection heliocentric orbit. Both side boosters landed successfully; the center booster suffered two engine failures on re-entry and struck the ocean, damaging two of the drone ship’s engines. The mission was originally intended to be launched as early as 2013.|
|2||November 30, 2018||USAF STP-2||DoD||Planned||The mission will support the U.S. Air Force EELV certification process for the Falcon Heavy. Secondary payloads include LightSail, GPIM, the Deep Space Atomic Clock, six COSMIC-2 satellites, the Oculus-ASR and Prox-1 nanosatellites, and the ISAT satellite.|
|3||December 2018–January 2019||Arabsat-6A||Arabsat||Planned||Saudi Arabian heavy communications satellite.|
|–||September 2020||AFSPC-52||US Air Force||Planned|
|–||2020||ViaSat-3||ViaSat||Planned||Launch option still listed on SpaceX's manifest.|
|–||TBA||TBA||Inmarsat||Planned||Launch option maintained after a 2016 Falcon Heavy launch of European Aviation Network satellite was switched for an Ariane 5 launch in 2017.|
|–||TBA||TBA||Intelsat||Planned||Launch option signed back in 2012.|
First commercial contractsEdit
In May 2012, SpaceX announced that Intelsat had signed the first commercial contract for a Falcon Heavy flight. It was not confirmed at the time when the first Intelsat launch would occur, but the agreement will have SpaceX delivering satellites to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). In August 2016, it emerged that this Intelsat contract had been reassigned to a Falcon 9 Full Thrust mission to deliver Intelsat 35e into orbit in the third quarter of 2017. Performance improvements of the Falcon 9 vehicle family since the 2012 announcement, advertising 8,300 kg to GTO for its expendable flight profile, enable the launch of this 6,000 kg satellite without upgrading to a Falcon Heavy variant.
In 2014, Inmarsat booked 3 launches with Falcon Heavy, but due to delays they switched a payload to Ariane 5 for 2017. Similarly to the Intelsat 35e case, another satellite from this contract, Inmarsat 5-F4, was switched to a Falcon 9 Full Thrust thanks to the increased liftoff capacity. The remaining contract covers the launch of Inmarsat 6-F1 in 2020 on a Falcon 9.
First DoD contract: USAFEdit
In December 2012, SpaceX announced its first Falcon Heavy launch contract with the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center awarded SpaceX two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class missions, including the Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission for Falcon Heavy, originally scheduled to be launched in March 2017, to be placed at a near circular orbit at an altitude of ~700 km, with an inclination of 70°.
In April 2015, SpaceX sent the U.S. Air Force an updated letter of intent outlining a certification process for its Falcon Heavy rocket to launch national security satellites. The process includes three successful flights of the Falcon Heavy including two consecutive successful flights, and states that Falcon Heavy can be ready to fly national security payloads by 2017. But in July 2017, SpaceX announced that the first test flight would take place in December 2017, pushing the launch of the second launch (Space Test Program 2) to June 2018. In May 2018, on the occasion of the first launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 variant, a further delay, to October 2018, was announced; the STP-2 mission will use three Block 5 cores.
The payload for the STP-2 mission is composed of 25 small spacecraft from the U.S. military, NASA, and research institutions:  The Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will be a payload; it is a new non-toxic propellant demonstrator project partly developed by the US Air Force. Another secondary payload is the miniaturized Deep Space Atomic Clock that is expected to facilitate autonomous navigation. The Air Force Research Laboratory's Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) has a mass of 500 kg and will measure the effects of very low frequency radio waves on space radiation. The British 'Orbital Test Bed' payload is hosting several commercial and military experiments.
Other small satellites include Prox 1, built by Georgia Tech students to test out a 3D-printed thruster and a miniaturized gyroscope, LightSail by the Planetary Society, Oculus-ASR nanosatellite, and CubeSats from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Texas at Austin, Michigan Tech, Cal Poly, and a CubeSat assembled by students at Merritt Island High School in Florida.
The launcher will include a 5,000 kg ballast mass, and the Block 5 second stage will allow multiple reignitions to place its many payloads in multiple orbits.
Crewed circumlunar flightEdit
On February 27, 2017, Musk announced that SpaceX would attempt to fly two private citizens on a free-return trajectory around the Moon in late 2018, somewhat paralleling Apollo 8. The initial plan was to use a Dragon 2 spacecraft launched on the Falcon Heavy. On February 5, 2018, Elon Musk announced that Falcon Heavy will not be flying humans, and that the lunar mission is more likely to be carried out with the BFR system, and no earlier than mid-2019. The two private citizens, who have not yet been named, approached SpaceX about taking a trip around the Moon and have "already paid a significant deposit" for the cost of the mission, according to a statement from the company. The names of the two individuals will be announced later, pending the result of initial health tests to ensure their fitness for the mission, the statement said. The two passengers would be the only people on board what SpaceX expects to be about a week-long trip around the Moon. "This would be a long loop around the moon. ... It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit further out into deep space and then loop back to Earth," Musk said during the teleconference. "So I'm guessing, distance-wise, maybe [about 500,000 to 650,000 kilometers]."
Solar System transport missionsEdit
In 2011, NASA Ames Research Center proposed a Mars mission called Red Dragon that would use a Falcon Heavy as the launch vehicle and trans-Martian injection vehicle, and a variant of the Dragon capsule to enter the Martian atmosphere. The proposed science objectives were to detect biosignatures and to drill 1.0 meter (3.3 ft) or so underground, in an effort to sample reservoirs of water ice known to exist under the surface. The mission cost as of 2011 was projected to be less than US$425,000,000, not including the launch cost. SpaceX 2015 estimation was 2,000–4,000 kg (4,400–8,800 lb) to the surface of Mars, with a soft retropropulsive landing following a limited atmospheric deceleration using a parachute and heat shield. Beyond the Red Dragon concept, SpaceX was seeing potential for Falcon Heavy and Dragon 2 to carry science payloads across much of the Solar System, particularly to Jupiter's moon Europa. SpaceX announced in 2017 that propulsive landing for Dragon 2 would not be developed further, and that the capsule would not receive landing legs. Consequently, the Red Dragon missions to Mars were cancelled in favor of the BFR, a larger vehicle using a different landing technology.
- "Capabilities & Services". SpaceX. 2017. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
- Sheetz, Michael (February 12, 2018). "Elon Musk says the new SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket crushes its competition on cost". CNBC. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
- "Falcon Heavy". SpaceX. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
- Harwood, William (6 February 2018). "SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch puts on spectacular show in maiden flight". CBS News. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
- "Falcon 9". SpaceX. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- Ahmad, Taseer; Ammar, Ahmed; Kamara, Ahmed; Lim, Gabriel; Magowan, Caitlin; Todorova, Blaga; Tse, Yee Cheung; White, Tom. "The Mars Society Inspiration Mars International Student Design Competition" (PDF). Mars Society. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
- Musk, Elon [@elonmusk] (December 17, 2015). "-340 F in this case. Deep cryo increases density and amplifies rocket performance. First time anyone has gone this low for O2. [RP-1 chilled] from 70F to 20 F" (Tweet). Retrieved December 19, 2015 – via Twitter.
- "Falcon 9 Overview". SpaceX. May 8, 2010. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014.
- "Elon Musk's huge Falcon Heavy rocket set for launch". BBC. February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Pietrobon, Steven (9 August 2018). "United States Military Manifest". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- Pasztor, Andy. "Elon Musk Says SpaceX's New Falcon Heavy Rocket Unlikely to Carry Astronauts". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Jeff Foust (29 September 2017). "Musk unveils revised version of giant interplanetary launch system". SpaceNews. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- Clark, Stephen (April 5, 2011). "SpaceX enters the realm of heavy-lift rocketry". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
- "SpaceX's Big New Rocket May Crash on 1st Flight, Elon Musk Says".
- Elon Musk (July 19, 2017). Elon Musk, ISS R&D Conference (video). ISS R&D Conference, Washington DC, USA. Event occurs at 36:00–39:50. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
There is a lot of risk associated with the Falcon Heavy. There is a real good chance that the vehicle does not make it to orbit ... I hope it makes far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest. ... I think Falcon Heavy is going to be a great vehicle. There is just so much that is really impossible to test on the ground. We'll do our best. ... It actually ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought. At first it sounds real easy; you just stick two first stages on as strap-on boosters. How hard can that be? But then everything changes. [the loads change, aerodynamics totally change, tripled vibration and acoustics, you break the qualification levels on all the hardware, redesign the center core airframe, separation systems] ... Really way, way more difficult than we originally thought. We were pretty naive about that. ... but optimized, it's 2 1/2 times the payload capability of Falcon 9.
- Musk, Elon. "June 2005 through September 2005 Update". SpaceX. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Boozer, R.D. (March 10, 2014). "Rocket reusability: a driver of economic growth". The Space Review. 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
- Musk, Elon (August 16, 2008). "Transcript – Elon Musk on the future of SpaceX". Shit Elon Says. Mars Society Conference, Boulder Colorado. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "F9/Dragon: Preparing for ISS" (Press release). SpaceX. August 15, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- de Selding, Peter B. (March 20, 2015). "SpaceX Aims To Debut New Version of Falcon 9 this Summer". Space News. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- SpaceX (December 28, 2016). "Falcon Heavy interstage being prepped at the rocket factory. When FH flies next year, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two". Instagram. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "Falcon Heavy Test Stand". Retrieved May 6, 2013.
- Berger, Eric (May 9, 2017). "SpaceX proves Falcon Heavy is indeed a real rocket with a test firing". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
- @SpaceX (May 9, 2017). "First static fire test of a Falcon Heavy center core completed at our McGregor, TX rocket development facility last week" (Tweet). Retrieved May 13, 2017 – via Twitter.
- @SpaceX (September 1, 2017). "Falcon Heavy's 3 first stage cores have all completed testing at our rocket development facility in McGregor, TX →" (Tweet). Retrieved September 1, 2017 – via Twitter.
- "SpaceX performs crucial test fire of Falcon Heavy, potentially paving way for launch". The Verge. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
- "US co. SpaceX to build heavy-lift, low-cost rocket". Reuters. April 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- "SpaceX announces launch date for the world's most powerful rocket" (Press release). SpaceX. April 5, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
- Foust, Jeff (September 2, 2015). "First Falcon Heavy Launch Scheduled for Spring". Space News. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
- "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Foust, Jeff (February 4, 2016). "SpaceX seeks to accelerate Falcon 9 production and launch rates this year". SpaceNews. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
- Bergin, Chris (August 9, 2016). "Pad hardware changes preview new era for Space Coast". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- "SpaceX is pushing back the target launch date for its first Mars mission". Space.com. February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Clark, Stephen (October 14, 2017). "Launch schedule". SpaceFlight Now. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "Debut of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket now planned early next year – Spaceflight Now". spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
- Clark, Stephen (August 30, 2016). "SES agrees to launch satellite on 'flight-proven' Falcon 9 rocket". Spaceflight Now.
- de Selding, Peter B. (November 3, 2016). "Inmarsat, juggling two launches, says SpaceX to return to flight in December". SpaceNews. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Henry, Caleb (1 June 2018). "Arabsat Falcon Heavy mission slated for December-January timeframe". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Plait, Phil. "Elon Musk: On the Roadster to Mars". Syfy Wire. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
- "Musk says Tesla car will fly on first Falcon Heavy launch - SpaceNews.com". December 2, 2017.
- Knapp, Alex (December 22, 2017). "Elon Musk Shows Off Photos of a Tesla Roadster Getting Prepped to Go to Mars". Forbes. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
- Kelly, Emre (January 17, 2018). "SpaceX Falcon Heavy status updates: Now targeting Friday for test fire at KSC". Florida Today. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Grush, Loren (January 22, 2018), "Shutdown means SpaceX can't test its Falcon Heavy rocket, creating further delays", The Verge, retrieved January 22, 2018
- Kapatos, Dennis (January 24, 2018), 01/24/2018 – Historic Falcon 9 Heavy Test Fire!, retrieved January 24, 2018
- Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (January 27, 2018). "Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- SpaceX [@SpaceX] (February 6, 2018). "Continue to monitor the upper level wind shear. New T-0 is 3:45 p.m. EST, 20:45 UTC." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (February 6, 2018). "Falcon Heavy side cores have landed at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "SpaceX Landed the Falcon Heavy's Two Boosters, But Its Core Clipped Its Drone Ship at 300 MPH". Gizmodo. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
- "The middle booster of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket failed to land on its drone ship". The Verge. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
- "Elon Musk's Tesla overshot Mars' orbit, but it won't reach the asteroid belt as claimed". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
- "Capabilities & Services". SpaceX. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- "SpaceX Announces Launch Date for the World's Most Powerful Rocket". Spaceref.com. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- "Octaweb". SpaceX News. April 12, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- "Landing Legs". SpaceX News. April 12, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Kremer, Ken (January 27, 2015). "Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch and Booster Recovery Featured in Cool New SpaceX Animation". Universe Today. Universe Today. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Nield, George C. (April 2014). Draft Environmental Impact Statement: SpaceX Texas Launch Site (PDF) (Report). 1. Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Commercial Space Transportation. pp. 2–3. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013.
- Simberg, Rand (February 8, 2012). "Elon Musk on SpaceX's Reusable Rocket Plans". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- "Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation" (PDF). NASA. October 2009. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Clark, Stephen (April 5, 2011). "SpaceX enters the realm of heavy-lift rocketry". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "Space Exploration Technologies Corporation – Falcon Heavy". SpaceX. December 3, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "SpaceX Brochure" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- "SpaceX Press Conference". SpaceX. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
- "Feasibility of a Dragon-derived Mars lander for scientific and human-precursor investigations" (PDF). 8m.net. October 31, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "Capabilities & Services". SpaceX. 2013. Archived from the original on October 7, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
- Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (12 February 2018). "Side boosters landing on droneships & center expended is only ~10% performance penalty vs fully expended. Cost is only slightly higher than an expended F9, so around $95M" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Bergin, Chris (January 12, 2009). "Musk ambition: SpaceX aim for fully reusable Falcon 9". NASAspaceflight. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Clark, Stephen (March 31, 2017). "SpaceX flies rocket for second time in historic test of cost-cutting technology". SpaceFlightNow. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (March 31, 2017). "Considering trying to bring upper stage back on Falcon Heavy demo flight for full reusability. Odds of success low, but maybe worth a shot" (Tweet). Retrieved June 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
- "ULA Delta IV Reference Page". United Launch Alliance. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
- Strickland, John K., Jr. (September 2011). "The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Booster". National Space Society. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
- "SpaceX Announces Launch Date for the World's Most Powerful Rocket". SpaceX. April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Logsdon, Tom (1998). Orbital Mechanics – Theory and Applications. New York: Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 978-0-471-14636-0. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (May 1, 2016). ""Does FH expendable performance include crossfeed?" "No cross feed. It would help performance, but is not needed for these numbers."" (Tweet). Retrieved June 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
- Testimony of Elon Musk (May 5, 2004). "Space Shuttle and the Future of Space Launch Vehicles". U.S. Senate. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Sietzen, Frank, Jr. (March 18, 2001). "Spacelift Washington: International Space Transportation Association Faltering; The myth of $10,000 per pound". SpaceRef. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Brian Wang (March 22, 2013). "Upgraded Spacex Falcon 9.1.1 will launch 25% more than old Falcon 9 and bring price down to $4109 per kilogram to LEO". NextBigFuture. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 7, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
- "Capabilities and Services". SpaceX. May 3, 2016. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014.
- Rumbaugh, Andrea (January 11, 2018). "Aerospace talent in Texas lauded". Houston Chronicle.
SpaceX has a rocket engine testing facility in McGregor and is building a launch site in Boca Chica, said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. The latter project, she said, will be ready late this year or early next year for early vehicle testing. SpaceX will then continue working toward making it a launch site.
- Foust, Jeff (April 1, 2013). "The great state space race". The Space Review. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- Svitak, Amy (March 5, 2014). "SpaceX to Compete for Air Force Launches This Year". Aviation Week. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Svitak, Amy (March 10, 2014). "SpaceX Says Falcon 9 To Compete For EELV This Year". Aviation Week. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Belfiore, Michael (December 9, 2013). "The Rocketeer". Foreign Policy; Feature article. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- Messier, Doug (January 14, 2014). "Shotwell: Reusable Falcon 9 Would Cost $5 to $7 Million Per Launch". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- "SpaceX set to launch massive satellite on July 2nd: 3 flights in 9 days". www.teslarati.com.
- "Inmarsat, juggling two launches, says SpaceX to return to flight in December - SpaceNews.com". November 3, 2016.
- SpaceX set for Falcon Heavy debut. Jeff Foust. Space News. February 5, 2018.
- Hull, Dana (May 9, 2018). "SpaceX's Second Falcon Heavy Rocket Spectacle Slips to October". Bloomberg News. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Chang, Kenneth (February 6, 2018). "Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX's Ambition Into Orbit" – via NYTimes.com.
- Musk, Elon [@elonmusk] (December 1, 2017). "Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent" (Tweet). Retrieved December 2, 2017 – via Twitter.
- SpaceX [@SpaceX] (December 22, 2017). "A Red Car for the Red Planet instagram.com/p/BdA94kVgQhU" (Tweet). Retrieved January 8, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Leone, Dan (July 24, 2014). "Solar Probe Plus, NASA's 'Mission to the Fires of Hell,' Trading Atlas 5 for Bigger Launch Vehicle". Space News. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "Lightsail". Planetary Society. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "About Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM)". NASA. 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM)". Ball Aerospace. 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "The Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM)" (PDF). Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 20, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "Deep Space Atomic Clock". NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. April 27, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- "SpaceX Awarded Two EELV-Class Missions From The United States Air Force". SpaceX. December 5, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "FORMOSAT 7 / COSMIC-2". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "Oculus-ASR". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
- "Falcon overloaded with knowledge – Falcon Heavy rocket under the Space Test Program 2 scheduled in October 2016". Spaceflights News. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "Arabsat contracts go to Lockheed Martin, Arianespace and SpaceX". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
- de Selding, Peter B. (February 10, 2016). "ViaSat details $1.4-billion global Ka-band satellite broadband strategy to oust incumbent players". SpaceNews. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
The ViaSat-2 satellite, now in construction at Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, California, will be launched in the first three months of 2017 aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket, and not the SpaceX Falcon Heavy vehicle as previously contracted. [...] ViaSat is maintaining its Falcon Heavy launch contract, which will now be used to launch one of the ViaSat-3 satellites around 2020, and has booked a reservation for a future Falcon Heavy, also for ViaSat-3, which is not yet a contract.
- "Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2016 Results" (Press release). ViaSat. February 9, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- "SpaceX Announces First Commercial Contract For Launch In 2013". Red Orbit. May 30, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- "Intelsat Signs First Commercial Falcon Heavy Launch Agreement With SpaceX" (Press release). SpaceX. May 29, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- "Falcon 9". SpaceX. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
- de Selding, Peter B. (July 2, 2014). "Inmarsat Books Falcon Heavy for up to Three Launches". SpaceNews. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- Foust, Jeff (December 8, 2016). "Inmarsat shifts satellite from SpaceX to Arianespace". SpaceNews.
- Krebs, Gunter. "Inmarsat-6 F1, 2". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- David, Leonard (April 13, 2016). "Spacecraft Powered by 'Green' Propellant to Launch in 2017". Space.com. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
- Foust, Jeff (August 9, 2016). "SpaceX offers large rockets for small satellites". SpaceNews. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
- "DSAC (Deep Space Atomic Clock)". NASA. Earth Observation Resources. 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- Gruss, Mike (April 15, 2015). "SpaceX Sends Air Force an Outline for Falcon Heavy Certification". Space News. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- Rideshare mission for U.S. military confirmed as second Falcon Heavy launch. Stephen Clark, Spaceflight Now. 1 March 2018.
- Davis, Jason (11 May 2018). "LightSail 2 launch slips to Fall". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
- "Green Propellant Infusion Mission Project" (PDF). NASA. July 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "Deep Space Atomic Clock". NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA. April 27, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- SpaceX Falcon Heavy with Block 5 rockets targets November launch debut. Eric Ralph, TeslaRati.
- Kenneth Chang (February 27, 2017). "SpaceX Plans to Send 2 Tourists Around Moon in 2018". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Foust, Jeff. "SpaceX no longer planning crewed missions on Falcon Heavy". Spacenews. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
- Pasztor, Andy. "Elon Musk Says SpaceX's New Falcon Heavy Rocket Unlikely to Carry Astronauts". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
- Fly Me to the Moon, but Not This Year: SpaceX Delays Tourism Plans. David Meyer, Fortune. June 4, 2018.
- "SpaceX To Send Privately Crewed Dragon Spacecraft Beyond The Moon Next Year". SpaceX. February 27, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Calla Cofield (February 27, 2017). "SpaceX to Fly Passengers On Private Trip Around the Moon in 2018". Space.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Wall, Mike (July 31, 2011). "'Red Dragon' Mission Mulled as Cheap Search for Mars Life". SPACE.com. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- Bergin, Chris (May 11, 2015). "Falcon Heavy enabler for Dragon solar system explorer". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- Elon Musk suggests SpaceX is scrapping its plans to land Dragon capsules on Mars The Verge July 19, 2017