Saturday, 24 February, 2018

SpaceX's rocket blasts off, puts car in space

Courtesy @elonmusk                                             
                  
          Instagram @e Courtesy @elonmusk Instagram @e
Theresa Hayes | 08 February, 2018, 06:56

Falcon Heavy left the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:45 p.m. ET after some initial delays.

Falcon Heavy is 229.6 ft long (some 23 storeys) has 27 engines and weighs 549,054kg - the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V was last flown in 1973.

Falcon Heavy carried a auto - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Tesla roadster - as a mock payload, along with a mannequin in a spacesuit and a playlist consisting of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". The Heavy is a combo of three Falcon 9s, that SpaceX uses to ship space station supplies and launch satellites for its customers. Sonic booms rumbled across the region with the vertical landings.

Musk's rocketing Roadster is shooting for a solar orbit that will reach all the way to Mars.

Musk outfitted his Roadster with cameras to capture views of the vehicle as it floated through space, but the batteries were only expected to last for roughly 12 hours. That's 2.61 times the average distance between Earth and the sun, which is, on average, about 93 million miles (150 million km).

By then, the upper-stage of the Falcon Heavy, with its Tesla cargo, was heading on a trajectory that would hopefully take it towards Mars' orbit.

Back in 2015, Stephen Colbert dubbed Elon Musk a potential "super villain", but on Tuesday night's episode of The Late Show, he gave the SpaceX CEO a new title-winner of "Most Midlife Crisis".

Described perfectly in the post-launch press conference, Elon Musk stated that the synchronized landing was probably the coolest thing he had ever seen, and I have to agree with him on this point.

About two minutes into the flight, the two side boosters peeled away from the center core and made their way back toward Earth for an upright landing. The Falcon Heavy rose from the same launch pad used by NASA almost 50 years ago to send men to the moon.

The spacecraft is created to be carried into the upper atmosphere by a specialised plane (rather than a rocket) and dropped at an altitude of about 50,000ft (15,000m), before boosting itself to suborbital space using its own rocket motor.

Also on board in a protected storage unit is Isaac Asimov's science fiction series, "Foundation".

"Space races are exciting", the billionaire entrepreneur, inventor, and real-life Tony Stark said on Tuesday.

Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon's chief executive Jeff Bezos, has been testing its New Shepard suborbital rocket and space capsule at various stages of development.

On Tuesday, Musk launched his biggest one yet from the same launchpad that sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969, a rocket capable of boosting a payload to Mars that's now the most powerful in the world.