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Falcon Heavy Structure
The tanks of Falcon Heavy’s three first-stage cores and second stage are made of aluminum-lithium alloy, a material made stronger and lighter than aluminum by the addition of lithium. Falcon Heavy is built to withstand structural loads 40% above expected flight loads, providing a 40% structural safety margin compared to the 25% margin of most other launch vehicles.
Each core, as well as the second stage, is in effect a large tank for the storage of engine propellants. The tanks and the domes that cap each tank are fabricated entirely in-house by SpaceX using SpaceX’s custom-made friction stir welders to execute the strongest and most reliable welding technique available. The structures are painted in-house by SpaceX.