SpaceX, the only private company to successfully bring a spacecraft back to Earth from low orbit is now flying the world’s most powerful space rocket. The rocket named Falcon Heavy carries an unusual payload: Elon Musk’s personal Tesla automobile (complete with ‘driver’) valued at $250k USD.
The 70 meter rocket (designed for a future 4 member crew) is intended to reach both the Moon and Mars but requires testing. Tuesday’s successful launch brings SpaceX a major step forward towards viable human travel in space.
The original launch time of 13.30 local time at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA was postponed several times during the day Tuesday due to adverse wind conditions. Clearance for launch was finally achieved and at 21.46, Falcon Heavy achieved lift off.
ABOUT THE PAYLOAD
Within the top of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket a 2008 Tesla Roadster automobile (SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private car) acts as official payload. ‘Starman’, a doll of human proportions wearing a white space suit sits as driver while David Bowie’s Space Oddity is one of the choices on the car playlist.
JOURNEY OF A BILLION YEARS
– Falcon Heavy sends a car to Mars – Tweeted Musk.
Sending his car to Mars is a simplification. The car is slated to enter an elliptical orbit between Mars and the Sun. Musk was quoted as saying that the car should travel in that orbit for several billion years.
However, Musk cautioned that much could go wrong but regardless, it would be exciting.
Thousands of spectators were on hand to witness the launch in Florida, USA while the world viewed via SpaceX’s website.
MOST POWERFUL SINCE APOLLO
Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket built since the American Apollo Space Program of the 1970’s and the futuristic rocket is slated to return to Earth after delivering its payload.
A successful return to Earth will mark the world’s first triple landing of returnable space vehicles and SpaceX aims at landing at 2 sites; the Atlantic Ocean and at Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today