The Falcon Heavy Packs A Huge Payload
That's nearly double the Delta IV Heavy (and at a third of the cost) according to SpaceX and the equivalent of lifting a Boeing 737 airliner fully loaded with crew, passengers, luggage and fuel. Only the Saturn V moon rocket which last flew in 1973, was able to deliver a heavier payload into orbit. The goal of Tuesday's flight is to prove that the Falcon Heavy can launch a payload into a hyperbolic deep space orbit which is known as the Hohmann transfer.
Historically, maiden rocket flights have a high failure rate so the Falcon Heavy will carry a dummy payload for its first launch. Elon Musk, the flamboyant founder of SpaceX, said he will consider it a win as long as the Falcon Heavy clears the launch pad without exploding. As a payload, the rocket will carry his beloved $100,000 red Tesla Roadster sports car, complete with a mannequin in a space suit at the wheel and Bowie's Space Oddity playing on a loop. Musk spoke to reporters on Monday, saying that the Tesla "will get about 400,000 million km away from Earth and be doing 11km/s. We estimate it will be in that orbit for several hundred million years, maybe in excess of a billion years".
This chart shows the payload to low-Earth orbit of selected rockets (measured in lbs).