On February 6, the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk first launched into space the heaviest carrier rocket in the world Falcon Heavy. On board the rockets put a personal sportscar entrepreneur Tesla Roadster, who went to the song of David Bowie. The launch was recognized as successful, and two accelerators separated and returned to Earth.
How was the flight, what are its features and what are the tasks
Around 11:45 pm Moscow time, SpaceX first launched Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida. This launch pad LC-39A, from which they sent Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong to the Moon.
Inside the rocket is an old car Tesla Roadster Musk cherry blossom, in which they put a dummy in the space suit SpaceX. The machine replaces the real cargo, which at the first start it is decided not to take
View from SpaceX Launch Control. Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth. pic.twitter.com/QljN2VnL1O
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
View from SpaceX Launch Control. Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth.
“A view from the SpaceX Flight Control Center. It seems that this machine rotates in the earth’s orbit ”
In the capsule with Tesla put the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, a poster with the inscription “Do not panic!”, Referring to the novel, and a towel. During the entire flight will play the song “Space Oddity” by David Bowie.
Only from the live broadcast of SpaceX it became known that in Tesla the Archdevice was placed with copies of books from the cycle “Founding” of American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Thus, the works will be preserved even under the most severe conditions. Books were sent to preserve human knowledge in the case of interplanetary travel. This is a metaphor for the cycle itself, where it was told about a scientist who foresaw the destruction of mankind and wanted to save the accumulated knowledge.
The flight of the car on the air is filmed by several cameras. How long the broadcast will last, has not yet been clarified.
The side accelerators Falcon 9 separated from the rocket and returned to the ground for reuse. The second stage will lead the cargo to Mars, into the orbit of the Sun.
After reaching the orbit, Tesla will continue to travel in space independently and with an “open top”. The car will not go to Mars, but will periodically approach it to him, then to the Earth.
As this is a test launch, the mission of Falcon Heavy is demonstrative: it is necessary to verify the performance of the rocket. Also, of course, we need to deliver Tesla with the “passenger” into orbit and return all three blocks of the first stage of the rocket to the ground.
What is Falcon Heavy
Falcon Heavy – the first rocket of the superheavy class of the company SpaceX. It consists of two stages: the first is three blocks, and the second is similar to the one used on the Falcon 9. It is capable of carrying up to 16.8 tons of payload when flying to Mars and up to 63.8 tons to the low Earth orbit.
For these characteristics, Falcon Heavy is superior to other modern missiles from competitors SpaceX. In addition, this is the only superheavy rocket, whose first stage completely returns to earth.
For the first time Musk mentioned Falcon Heavy in 2005 and officially announced it only in 2011. The launch was repeatedly postponed, and the chances of success were not very high. Initially, the head of SpaceX believed that if the rocket did not explode at the launch pad, but took off, that was good luck.
What is important is the launch of Falcon Heavy
Successful launch of the missile will contribute to other launches
SpaceX has planned at least several launches for its customers. In the first part of 2018, it is planned to launch Arabsat communications satellite from Saudi Arabia.
Not earlier than June, Falcon Heavy will fly into space on a joint project of the Space Test Program with the US Department of Defense. So the Pentagon will find out how much the missile is ready to carry cargo of special importance. In space, a special test ship LightSail with a “solar sail” for the US Planetary Society will launch.
The success of Falcon Heavy calls into question the NASA program
According to Musk, the launch of Falcon Heavy costs $ 90 million. This is significantly cheaper than the analog, which is being developed by the US space agency: each launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) will cost from 1.5 to 2.5 billion dollars.
If the rocket from SpaceX proves its operability, then the question arises as to the need for a more expensive state variant. For the sake of justice, SLS is capable of putting into orbit loads from 68 to 131.5 tons.
One way or another, Falcon Heavy can reduce the cost of launches in general and allow to put into orbit more heavy vehicles. Piloted launches are not planned.