SpaceX today successfully launched their biggest rocket, Falcon Heavy rocket, with an interesting payload, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster, into a more interesting orbit. This maiden flight for the Falcon Heavy is finally over and is a success in many ways.
This event was live-streamed on YouTube and with most of the things going right (yes, not everything went as planned) this rocket I now the world’s most powerful rocket.
Now as planned the two outer boosters successfully landed on their landing pads, Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2, 1000 feet apart from each other, while the center core which broke from the vehicle upper stage and then failed to land on its landing pad on SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Now SpaceX is the only commercial company to send a rocket that big into space which boasts 27 engines which together created a thrust of 5 million pounds. That enables Falcon Heavy to put a payload of about 140,000 pounds into lower Earth orbit, which twice as bigger than any other operational rocket. This has opened a new market for SpaceX, putting up massive security satellites into space and even putting a huge number of humans into other planets.
Elon Musk tweeted this after the launch:
Upper stage restart nominal, apogee raised to 7000 km. Will spend 5 hours getting zapped in Van Allen belts & then attempt final burn for Mars.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
Today’s launch was a solid performance of what has been one of the most anticipated rockets to launch in the last decade. SpaceX first announced plans to develop the Falcon Heavy back in 2011, with the goal of launching it as early as 2013 or 2014. However, the inaugural mission has suffered numerous delays; two failures of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 pushed the launch even further out than planned. Musk also noted that engineering the rocket turned out to be unexpectedly difficult. “It actually ended up being way harder to do Falcon Heavy than we thought,” he said at a press conference in July. “At first it sounds easy: just stick two first stages on as strap-on boosters. How hard can it be? But then all the loads change, the aerodynamics change.”
The rocket’s upper stage — the top portion of the rocket that is carrying the car — ignited two more times after separating from the Falcon Heavy’s boosters. After the first burn, SpaceX put the upper stage in an experimental six-hour “coast,” where the rocket didn’t fire. The long wait was meant to show the Falcon Heavy’s ability to do a special kind of orbit maneuver for the Air Force.
The Falcon Heavy took off from a historic launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, called LC-39A. It’s the same pad that was used to launch the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, as well as numerous Space Shuttle flights. SpaceX is currently leasing the site from NASA and will continue to launch Falcon Heavy flights from the pad for the foreseeable future.
This successful mission means more customers for SpaceX. But for now this rocket has a few more runs to do, it has to launch satellites for Saudi Arabia and US Air Force, and a couple of more satellites. What will attract customers is the price they deliver rockets at. Even NASA would look into this option for putting up humans on Moon or Mars.
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Source: The Verge