It’s a happy day for SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as the agency has successfully launched the much awaited, the most robust, Falcon Heavy on a journey to Mars. The rocket blasted off on Tuesday between a launch window that started from 1:30 p.m. EST and till 4 p.m. EST.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is a towering behemoth that tore through the sky with the thundering force of 18 Boeing 747 jetliners. The racket was launched at the same launch pad that sent the crew of Apollo 11 to the moon. Reporting the event, The Washington Post noted in an article that a plenty of people gathered at the venue to watch the launch where the rocket sent up a mountain-sized plume of smoke and a rattling roar across Florida’s Space Coast.
The mission comprised the first test of the huge rocket, powered by 27 engines in three first-stage boosters strapped together. The maiden flight also marked history as it is the first time a privately financed venture ever attempted to launch a rocket so powerful that it was capable of lifting a payload out of Earth’s orbit. SpaceX founder Elon Musk put his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster on the rocket, carrying a spacesuit-clad mannequin named “Starman” behind the wheel.
SpaceX excelled the launch by successful landing of two boosters on land, whilst setting off twin sonic booms on their return. A third first-stage, the so-called center core, crash landed at sea. “I’m still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seemed surreal to me,” Musk said in a statement. He continued, “I had an image of a giant explosion on the pad with a wheel bouncing down the road and the Tesla logo landing somewhere. But fortunately, that’s not what happened. The mission seemed to have gone as well as possible.”
If SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission succeeds, it could prove useful to the Pentagon for lifting national security satellites and to NASA for helping its human exploration goals. According to the company, the rocket is capable of hauling more mass farther than any existing rocket – an estimated 140,000 pounds to low Earth orbit, and nearly 40,000 pounds to Mars.
The car is carrying a plaque with the names of 6,000 SpaceX employees, in addition to transporting a data storage device containing Isaac Asimov’s classic Foundation science fiction trilogy.
The new Falcon Heavy flaunts the capacity to carry twice the amount of payload that can be taken to the orbit by the next closest vehicle named Delta IV Heavy. The best thing about Falcon Heavy is that it is cost effective as compared to any other payload carrier. The average for the rocket is just one-third of the total used by predecessors. The design of Falcon Heavy is meant to carry large payloads into Earth’s orbit; however, the powerful machine can even carry a “Dragon Spacecraft”.
The Falcon Heavy houses a Merlin engine for the second engine that can be easily restarted numerous times to send a variety of payloads into the orbit of our blue planet. Apart from carrying payloads to the orbit, Falcon Heavy can also carry 16,880 kg payload to Mars and up to 3,500kg payload to Pluto.
On February 2nd, the FAA approved the license after a final regulatory based hurdle was cleared for the Falcon Heavy during a test conducted at the Pad 39A located at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The weather forecast issued on Sunday suggests that the weather shall be mostly favorable during the launch scheduled on Tuesday. The only concerns come from the liftoff winds as well as the thick clouds present above. The maximum wind speed for Tuesday shall be close to 90 knots at the height of 40,000 feet.
With the approval from FAA, SpaceX shall launch the Falcon Heavy with the modified version of Tesla Roadster on board. The rocket shall drop off this shipment to the hyperbolic orbit. The plan here is to prepare a speed-induced trajectory that shall take the Roadster away from the gravity of Earth towards the sun with heliocentric orbit. The orbit has the power to drive the automobile to a distance close to Mars.
However, Musk has also said on many occasions that the very first launch for Falcon Heavy might also end in an explosive pattern of failure but it surely is a stepping stone towards the future of space exploration and commercialization of space missions.
The landing of the rocket shall be a sight to see or rather a noise to be heard. The landing will be accompanied by not one but 3 sonic boom sound that could be heard at a distance that covers six counties in Florida. Like most of the launch by SpaceX, the Falcon Heavy launch shall also be aired live for the space enthusiasts to take a peek.
On Wednesday, January 24, SpaceX announced that it has successfully test-fired the 27 Merlin engines of the Falcon Heavy rocket. The Falcon Heavy rocket consists of 3 Falcon 9 first stages, and each Falcon 9 rocket is powered by 9 Merlin engines.
The 230 feet tall Falcon Heavy rocket has a strengthened central core Falcon 9 rocket along with another two Falcon 9 first stages as strap-on boosters. During its lift off from the launch pad, the Falcon Heavy rocket generated around 4.7 million pounds of thrust and thrust is way higher than the current leader the European Ariane 5 launcher, which produced around 2.9 million pounds of thrust. Prior to the launch, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled a series of Falcon Heavy launch viewing packages for the visitors. Earlier Musk had said, “I encourage people to come down to the Cape to see the first Falcon Heavy mission; it’s guaranteed to be exciting.”