World’s most powerful rocket ‘Falcon Heavy’ carrying a special payload: a red coloured Tesla Roadster and a mannequin named ‘Starman’ – the spacesuit-wearing driver, was successfully launched in its maiden test flight at 8.45PM GMT on Tuesday February 6, 2018 by SpaceX of which Elon Musk is CEO and founder. The launch took place from the same landing pads where NASA’s Apollo moon missions began, the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and have captured the attention of people all over the world. The Tesla Roadster was supposed to head to Mars orbit but its space journey has turned out differently than expected as the rocket had exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid belt, which is between Mars and the planet Jupiter.
SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies Corp is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk to revolutionise space technology, with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonisation of Mars and with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. SpaceX has since designed and developed advanced rockets and spacecraft such as the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family, which both currently deliver payloads into Earth orbit.
- Falcon 9 which is composed of nine-engine cores with 27 Merlin engines altogether can generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at lift-off.
- The rocket is capable of carrying around 64 metric tons (141,000 lb) – a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel; into the orbit.
- SpaceX has used the technology from its Falcon 9 rockets to build this bigger Falcon Heavy.
- The advantage with SpaceX is that its Falcon Heavy can do this at one-third the cost as other rockets with such capabilities.
- Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster is expected to reach a distance of about 160 million miles away from the Sun.
- It is estimated the car “will be in that orbit for several million years, may be in excess of a billion years, and at times it will come extremely close to Mars and there is a tiny, tiny chance it will hit Mars”.
Elon Musk after the launch told reporters ecstatically, “The mission went as well as one could have hoped;” calling it “probably the most exciting thing I have seen literally ever”. “I had this image of a giant explosion on the pad with a wheel bouncing down the road with the Tesla logo landing somewhere”. “Fortunately that is not what happened.” “May be discovered by some alien race that’ll be like ‘What were they doing? Did they worship this car?’ Why did they have a little car in the car?’”
Barack Obama former U. S. President and SpaceX founder Elon Musk had declared humans would walk on the Red Planet in a few decades and the successful launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket has put us in a completely different realm of what we can put into deep space, what we can send to Mars.
New challengers like China are joining the U.S. and Russia in space with an ambitious, if vague, Mars program. Aerospace corporations like BlueOrigin have published schematics of future bases, ships and suits.