Abril 19, 2018

What SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch means for the way forward for spaceflight

11 Febrero 2018, 06:34 | Crisanna Felipe

The Tesla Roadster orbits Earth before blasting off further into

The Tesla Roadster orbits Earth before blasting off further into space

The Falcon Heavy launch was almost flawless, and the roadster is headed for orbit around the sun. After delaying the launch five times, the megarocket finally blasted-off at 3:45 p.m. ET.

Known as the Falcon Heavy, the new projectile has 27 engines generating 5 million pounds of thrust, making it the most powerful rocket ever built by a private company. As it blasted off from the launchpad, two rockets separated after the completion of stage one of the launch.

The historic launch was deemed a success despite the loss of a core booster rocket that smashed into the water at 300mph. It was a product of remarkable engineering, and a source of awe and internet memes across the planet (Earth, not Mars).

Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO, watched on as the mock payload, carrying a mannequin in a spacesuit, was propelled into space by three powerful rocket boosters. But the rocket needed a dummy payload, and a sports auto against the backdrop of Earth is a damn sight more dramatic than a block of concrete.

As the the roadster sped into an orbit between Earth and Mars, David Bowie's "Space Oddity" played on the radio. Stephen Hawking said for years that humans' chances of perpetuity would be to leave Earth, which might be struck with great catastrophes like the one decimating the dinosaurs. Starting with its power plant, the BFR will do away with the Merlin rocket engines utilized in both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy platforms in favor of the newly developed Raptor engine.

Falcon Heavy's successor - and the SpaceX rocket that could make an unmanned mission to Mars - would be the irreverently-named rocket now known as BFR, or "Big Fucking Rocket". In fact, NASA has already gone into business with SpaceX.

However, keeping positive, SpaceX said, "Even if we do not complete all of the experimental milestones that are being attempted during this test, we will still be gathering critical data".

Now, finally, the rocket proved it works.

Thankfully, with the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch (Roadster cargo 'n all) out of the way, Musk is back to addressing the bottlenecks holding up Model 3 production.

He explained: 'Was he picked up as his PayPal thing, and then groomed into being the so-called first civilian space agency to try and take some pressure of of nasa and make it seem like we are progressing with civilian space travel? However, the technology for such a mission is still not where it needs to be for that trip to be successful.

Among those who believe that the object was indeed SpaceX related, a portion of them attribute the event to have been one of the Falcon Heavy's multi-staged rocket burns.

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