February 18, 2019

SpaceX latest launch refuels fascination with space

10 February 2018, 01:24 | Dale Webster

SpaceX latest launch refuels fascination with space

SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy rocket

The team cleared several vessels from the launch hazard area in the hours leading up to the successful launch of Falcon Heavy and landing of two boosters at SpaceX's Landing Zone One on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Its payload - a full-size sports vehicle apparently sent up as a lark - is destined to reach Mars in six months, then orbit around the sun.

Astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project caught sight of the Tesla speeding through space on February 8, two days after its launch. Nonetheless, Falcon Heavy's coming-out-party can only be hailed as a major success, and it could herald a new era of space exploration.

The fire and smoke have long dissipated but the excitement of Tuesday's maiden launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket continues to linger as a lone red auto with a mannequin "driver" makes its way through the blackness of space to the soundtrack of David Bowie.

"It gives me a lot of faith for our next architecture", Musk said on Tuesday night, after the launch of Falcon Heavy. The rocket is also said to be the most powerful rocket in operation in the world according to a New York Times article.

Elon Musk's Tesla roadster, which launched on top of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy a day before, is going farther out into the Solar System than originally planned, The Verge reported. No, the vehicle is now floating around somewhere in between Mars and Earth. It'll continue to complete one full orbit about every 19 months.

Like so many others, NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold was awe-struck by the livestreaming of "Starman" and his ride. With a skull-splitting roar the biggest rocket ever built blasted off today for Mars, marking what the veteran tech billionaire and inventor Elon Musk called the dawn of a new age for humanity as a multi-planet species. They will then relay information to 1st ROPS to determine the best course of action and ensuring public safety from any potential rocket fallout if the launch should go south. But the rocket needed a dummy payload, and a sports auto against the backdrop of Earth is a damn sight more dramatic than a block of concrete.

The timing adds pressure to Tesla's first-quarter production goals, and it adds yet another item to the company's lengthy to-do list.

The United States hasn't had a spacecraft capable of sending humans to orbit since NASA's Space Shuttle program retired in 2011.

"We can see a long way when we're up there", said Lt. Col. Mike Stuker, 301st Rescue Squadron flight lead.

"I think we might be able to exceed the specs that we unveiled previous year too, which is pretty exciting", he says.

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