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Elon Musk, Space X plan to launch rocket in space by 2018

The International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the Moon on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Manchester Township, York County, Pa. Onboard are: NASA astronauts Joe Acaba, Mark Vande Hei, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Sergey Ryanzansky; and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)

Space X and Elon Musk have created a new pathway to space.

Over the past few years, Space X has launched a series of Falcon 9 rockets and select payloads to orbit the International Space Station.

The dream of getting to space in a low-cost way is here, and SpaceX has created an amazing class of rockets, some of which can actually return the booster rocket back to earth with a soft landing.

Artist’s representation of Falcon Heavy on a launch pad. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Things are about to get more interesting in 2018.

Get set for the arrival of one of the most powerful rockets ever launched in space, with planned launch of the new Falcon Heavy.

The older and less powerful Falcon 9 rocket is powered by nine Merlin class rocket motors, which is powerful enough to launch smaller payloads into earth’s low orbit.

The amazing thing about the Falcon 9 rocket platform is its reflight capability, which means the booster rocket can be used over and over again.

The Falcon 9 made history back in 2012, when it delivered the supply ship known as Dragon to the International Space Station.

Now Musk has some really big plans: He hopes to launch the concept-heavy rocket, known as Falcon Heavy, in early 2018 from one of the same launch pads that the Apollo moon rockets lifted off from.

The Falcon Heavy is a massive rocket: It’s about 230 feet tall and has a launch mass of more than 3 million pounds. The rocket will contain 27 Merlin engines, which are capable of generating more than 5 million pounds of thrust.

All this will allow heavy payloads to be placed into space for deep space missions. The burn time on the main engines to help reach orbit are about 162 seconds.

The main fuel for this rocket is a combination of refined kerosene and liquid oxygen. The kerosene component is known as RP-1.

The maiden launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket may also have some historical feats beyond a successful launch, as Musk may add his personal cherry red Tesla Roadster as the actual payload, to be sent on a direct orbit around Mars.

A special sound system will also be installed, which will play “Space Oddity” by David Bowie.

Some say this may be a prank, but others believe it will actually happen.

The ultimate goal for Musk is to get humans to Mars and colonize the solar system.

Look forward to a very aggressive launch schedule for the Falcon Heavy rocket, starting in 2018.

Here is your very own December sky map to help locate many of the objects and events listed above.

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