Falcon Heavy: SpaceX teases with photo of ‘world's most powerful rocket’ ahead of 2017 launch
The image, posted on SpaceX’s Instagram account, shows the rocket sitting pretty in the factory and explains that it is being prepped ahead of its 2017 launch.
“When FH [Falcon Heavy] flies next year, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” SpaceX wrote alongside the picture.
Falcon Heavy will have the ability to lift 54 metric tons (119,000 pounds) into orbit, which SpaceX says is equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.
The rocket is designed to carry humans into space, and “restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the moon or Mars,” according to SpaceX's website.
The first launch of Falcon Heavy was initially scheduled for 2016, but was pushed back to 2017 due to the explosion of a Falcon 9 spacecraft in September. An exact date for the launch has not been announced.
A 2017 launch of Falcon Heavy would see SpaceX beat out NASA, which is expected to send its own heavy-lift rocket into space in late 2018.
Although Falcon Heavy will be able to lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, it isn't quite record-breaking. The Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, managed to deliver more payload into orbit in its heyday.