One of the most powerful rockets, SpaceX Falcon heavy, has been blasted off on Tuesday on its highly anticipated maiden test flight.
Cheers erupted at the station in Cape Canaveral, Florida as the rocket fired its 27 engines and got into the blue sky over the NASA Launchpad that served as a base for the missions of US to the moon after four decades ago.
“I had this image of a giant explosion on the pad with a wheel bouncing down the road with the Tesla logo landing somewhere,” he said. “Fortunately that is not what happened.”
SpaceX, webcast showed the Roadster Tesla soaring into space, as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” played in the background. With the words “Don’t Panic” visible on the dashboard, in an apparent nod to the sci-fi series the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Elon Musk posted a live video which shows the “Starman” mannequin appearing to the cruise, its hand gloved on the wheel. With the darkness of space, with the earth’s image reflected on the car surface which is red.
If the Roadster survives its five-hour journey through the Van Allen Belt — a region of high radiation where it will be pelted with charged particles — it will attempt a final burn toward Mars, Musk said.
Then the car would enter the universe revolving around the sun that brings it closer to mars, on a journey that could last a billion years. As it takes it as far as 250 million miles from the Earth surface, as same as the trip around the 10000 times of equator.
“Maybe it will be discovered by some future alien race,” Musk told reporters. “What were these guys doing? Did they worship this car?” he mused.
Much more about the status of the car’s journey is going to be expected in the coming days. The Roadster was also fitted with the large set of data storage unit which contains Isaac Asimov’s science book of fiction series. And a plaque bearing the names of around 6000 SpaceX employees.
Just after two minutes into the flight, the two side of the boosters packs peeled away from the core part of the center and move towards for an upright landing. Live video showed that both the rockets landed side by side on launchpads.
“New Olympic sport – Synchronized Landings!” wrote NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik on Twitter.
“It didn’t have enough propellant,” Musk said, adding that it plunged into the ocean about 100 meters (yards) away from its landing point.
“Apparently it hit the water at 300 miles (480 kilometers) an hour and took out two of the engines,” he added.
Source: The Nation
Experts said the launch would likely catch the eye of the US space agency NASA, which may consider using the Falcon Heavy as a way to fast-track its plans to reach the Moon again for the first time since 1972.
NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot congratulated the Elon Musk and his team and called it as a “great accomplishment.”
Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana said: “the successful launch of a new vehicle on its first flight is a significant accomplishment they can be very proud of.”
Falcon Heavy specs
It has been launched from the same NASA Launchpad which was the base for the Apollo era mission of Moon of the year 1960s and 1970s.
It is “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” SpaceX said.
That simply means that it can carry just twice the load of the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy as a very low cost of just about Rs 578 crores. Per-launch as compared to Rs 2200 crores for its competitor.
Moreover, the falcon heavy is essentially tree smaller, Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, with the total engines of 27. The 230-foot (70-meter) tall rocket is designed to carry nearly 141,000 pounds into orbit — more than the mass of a fully loaded 737 jetliner.