SpaceX has performed the first static test fire of all 27 Merlin engines on the Falcon Heavy rocket, Space Flight Now reported.
The engines are split between three Falcon 9 boosters and generate thrust equal to about 18 Boeing 747 aircraft.
“Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit,” said SpaceX.
The test was conducted from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“This is one of those things that’s really difficult to test on the ground,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
“We can fire the engines on the ground, and we can try to simulate the dynamics of having 27 instead of nine booster engines, and the airflow as it goes through transonic. It’s going to see heavy transonic buffet. How does it behave at Max-Q?”
Musk said there is a lot of risk associated with Falcon Heavy and there is a good chance the vehicle will not make it to orbit during its test launch.
“I want to make sure to set expectations accordingly. I hope it makes it far enough beyond the pad so that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest.”