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SpaceX will launch its biggest rocket yet, called the Falcon Heavy, at the end of the month, Chief Executive Elon Musk announced on social media late Thursday.
The billionaire's space exploration company claims the Falcon Heavy is the "most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two." Musk said in an Instagram post Thursday that, at 2,500 tons of thrust, the rocket is equivalent to 18 Boeing 747 aircraft at full throttle.
Musk also revealed that the rocket would carry out a test fire next week with a full launch at the end of the month. Until now, there was no date set for the launch.
The Falcon Heavy has suffered multiple delays. Last year, Musk admitted that the development of the rocket had been "way harder" than he had anticipated.
For the test flight, the rocket will not carry a customer's payload. Instead, Musk will launch an original Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" into "a billion year elliptic Mars orbit." Musk is also CEO of Tesla.
SpaceX does have some customers for the Falcon Heavy lined up, however. These include satellite firms Arabsat and Inmarsat, and the U.S. Air Force. There are no concrete dates for these launches.
The Falcon Heavy test will take place at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.
SpaceX has been ramping up its launches. The company's rockets are able to take a payload to space then land back on a droneship in the sea so they can be reused. SpaceX said that this reduces the cost of flights and allows it to do more frequent launches. It aims to launch a payload every two weeks.
The company is currently gearing up to launch a classified U.S. government payload codenamed "Zuma" this weekend.