Some are calling it the most important rocket launch of the millennium and perhaps they are not wrong. The tumultuous journey of SpaceX began as a remote dream for cost effective methods of travelling to space in 2002. Fast forward to over 15 years, the fledgeling startup is currently at the forefront of space exploration and giving neck-to-neck competition to the behemoths in the space industry like Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy.
As great as it sounded on paper, it wasn’t likely to be simple to undertake this endeavor.
17 decades after, the day has finally arrived when a revolutionary rocket will be put into the test and perhaps bring Musk’s dream of inter-planetary traveling nearer to reality.
The Falcon Heavy was initially planned for a launch way back in 2011, but due to several technical and logistical issues, the launching plans were postponed countless times. Until now, the Falcon Heavy has finished a effective static fire test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral in January. The successful static test firing on the Falcon Heavy saw all its engines fired up for 12 minutes.
Clearly, the Falcon Heavy is not any ordinary rocket. It’s basically made up of three Falcon 9rockets strapped together to supply one super-rocket with unbelievable thrust force. The rocket uses a total of 27 Merlin engines to create a thrust of more than 5 million lbs. Simply to put some perspective on this, that is enough force to put around 64,000 pound or a Boeing 737 jetliner filled with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel, into Earth’s orbit.
Moreover, the rocket is actually capable of transporting up to 7,700 pounds (3,500 kg) into the remote planet of Pluto at the edge of the solar system. The previous rocket to transcend this quantity of payload was that the Saturn V rocket that put humans on the moon back in 1973.
Currently, the next most powerful rocket occurs to be United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy and it could only set around half of their payload to the planet’s orbit as compared to Falcon Heavy.
Falcon Heavy. Elon Musk/Twitter
This really isn’t the only reason why Falcon Heavy could be considered a game changer. In Contrast, the Delta IV Heavy charges around $350 million per launch, according to a report by The Verge.
Along with this, the Falcon Heavy is designed for reusability hence making production prices effectively zero. The massive quantity of money necessary for launches is one of the biggest challenges for distance explorations to remote planets, but using all the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX could disrupt the segment of space travel.
So what is the Falcon Heavy going to do?
Quite simply put, the entire purpose of the launch is to place a 2008 Cherry Red Tesla Roadster into Martian orbit for a billion decades, while the tune Starman by David Bowie is being played on a loop. Talk about theatrical.
In reality, The Verge reports that the vehicle, which is also carrying a dummy called as the ‘Starman’, would really be set in the Hohmann transfer orbit round the Sun which will put the car as far from the Sun as is the distance of Mars’ orbit. This way the automobile will avoid the chances of crashing to Mars and contaminating the outside with microbes from Earth.
The general plan surrounding the launching is that SpaceX will attempt to property at 2 booster rockets back into Cape Canaveral on its concrete landing zone. The next booster will be directed to land in the center of the Atlantic Ocean on SpaceX’s autonomous drone boat. If effective, though the chances are 50-50, these rockets can subsequently be constructed again for future launching missions.
Currently Elon Musk has claimed that there’s a high chance that the rockets could blow up mid-way or at the very start of the launch. But if this does happen it would seriously jeopardise the reputation of SpaceX as the leader in future space missions.
SpaceX is going to soon be live streaming the whole launching from their website and YouTube.
However, there are a few factors at play like the wind speed and weather conditions which could delay the launching. Also, this being the first launching of the Falcon Heavy, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some technical issues pushing the launching ahead by a possibly a couple of days or so.
Even then we ought to think about ourselves as extremely blessed that this exciting effort has finally gotten the green light.
We’ll be attracting all the details on the Falcon Heavy Launch our website, so stay tuned.