Falcon Heavy changes the game

Ismael LynchFeb 11, 2018

In a historic first, SpaceX launched its long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday and landed its two side boosters on the ground - a feat the Hawthorne space company hopes will lead to increased commercial and national security missions. But, in fact, there was a lot more to the event.The rocket was taken to space by three powerful boosters and it carried, like a cherry on the cake, a red Tesla auto. The Falcon Heavy's ability to lift 144,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit is a record for rockets launched by private companies, according to The New York Times.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Wednesday's Q4 earnings call that the company will begin making capital investments on the Model Y compact SUV sometime in the second half of 2018. The Falcon Heavy it will be sitting on top of will have no trouble lifting the 2 ton weight of the auto.

The new setup comprises of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores totalling to 27 Merlin engines, of which, Musk believes, up to a dozen could fail and the rocket would still reach orbit. What's more, the Tesla won't take that long to cross Mars' orbit.

Explaining why he was sending a vehicle to outer space, Musk wrote on Twitter toward the end of 2017: "I love the thought of a auto drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future".

Falcon Heavy blasts off from the Kennedy Space Centre.

In a move combining elements of P.T. Barnum and Werner von Braun, SpaceX staged the first flight test of its new Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday. Musk certainly grabbed the media's attention, now all he needs if a faultless launch later today.

But SpaceX reportedly offered NASA and the Air Force a chance to put a payload on the rocket at no cost before deciding to launch the vehicle.

Musk first promised that a demonstration flight of the massive rocket would occur in 2012, but the company, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., found that development of the 27-engine behemoth was more hard than initially expected.

If you're Elon Musk, you up the ante. A mannequin dressed in a "real deal" SpaceX spacesuit _ dubbed "Starman" by Musk _ is strapped in behind the car's wheel. That's more than double the Falcon Heavy's thrust.

The space tourists would ride aboard a passenger version of SpaceX's Dragon 2 capsule, which has already been used by NASA to send cargo to the International Space Station. Musk himself, however, took only a few hours to bask in the glow of the Falcon Heavy's success before setting his sights on something bigger and better: the SpaceX BFR. He had, then, commented that reaching orbit is a country thing, not a company thing.

Tesla reported a net loss of $675 million for the fourth quarter, up from $121 million a year earlier.

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