The new SpaceX rocket that launched into the sky yesterday, became the world’s most powerful vehicle in operation today. The enormous Falcon Heavy blasted off the launch pad at the historic Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Its successful launch was only made more incredible by the fact that it was carrying Elon Musk’s own Tesla Roadster.
The two side-boosters detached from the center main-stage rocket, flying back to Earth for gentle touchdowns at the same time on twin launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The center rocket was initially expected to make a landing on a drone ship floating at sea, to which its launch had been delayed for more than two hours because of wind-shear conditions. The successful launch of the Falcon Heavy might be a crucial turning point for Musk’s privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, giving it an advantage over its competition with other commercial rocket companies.
The Falcon Heavy is propelled by 27 rocket engines and boasts more than 5 million pounds of thrust at launch, which is about three times the force of the Falcon 9 booster that once was main worker in the SpaceX fleet. This is mainly because the Falcon Heavy is basically just three Falcon 9’s combined. The success of the launch was iffy, but Musk said in a conference call on Monday, “It’s going to be an exciting success or an exciting failure.” The mentality to accept either a win or loss as a positive speaks volumes of the progress they’ve made and will make.
Along for the ride into orbit was the cherry red electric Tesla Roadster. The sleek electric-powered sports car is supposed to live in a virtually indefinite solar orbit, a mission that will take it as far from Earth as Mars. In addition to that, SpaceX placed a mannequin wearing a SpaceX spacesuit in the driver’s seat, with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” playing on repeat – a song about an astronaut who is forever lost in the void of space. It’s a fitting soundtrack to the Roadster’s unending trip.