December 16, 2018

Floating through space, SpaceX's 'Starman' mesmerizes the world

11 February 2018, 01:17 | Devin Moran

Two Falcon Heavy SpaceX rocket boosters landing

Two Falcon Heavy SpaceX rocket boosters landing in Florida

A camera mounted ahead caught this image of Starman, in Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster, as auto and mannequin left Earth behind.

The roadster is now officially labeled a Near-Earth Object, which is a designation NASA gives to objects that can travel relatively close to our home planet.

The spectacular maiden launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket last week from Kennedy Space Center was big: literally, because the rocket is now the world's most powerful; and figuratively, because its success promises to expand the scientific and economic horizons for America's space program and Florida's Space Coast.

The Tuesday launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket reflects the limitless bounds of ingenuity and brilliance of those daring to dream of a bigger, better tomorrow.

His overriding goal is to establish a city on Mars, sending people there in a flotilla of SpaceX spaceships launched by colossal SpaceX rockets. By Musk's estimation, Tesla would have accounted for 34-percent of the entire heavy truck order book past year.

The animation showed that during the launch, Falcon Heavy's three first-stage boosters ignite, powering up the booster toward space.

One small nugget buried in the call also confirms what many have long suspected: that the truck will most likely favor lithium ion batteries versus supercapacitors. SpaceX, despite some hiccups along the way, has transformed the ridiculous into the routine, these days casually returning Falcon 9 rockets to terra firma.

Unfortunately, the traditionalists at NASA - and their beltway bandit allies - don't share this view and have feared this moment since the day the Falcon Heavy program was announced seven years ago. It is hard to overstate how transformative this could be.

In the words of Musk, the Tesla was meant to be a silly stunt for SpaceX - but for NASA, the vehicle is an object in our solar system that must be cataloged and tracked. You can actually hear David Bowie's Life in Mars playing in the backdrop as Starman (the embodiment of every traveller) flies through space. We could well be surprised at how quickly those developments start unfolding. Only the economics were missing.

The Falcon Heavy launch precedes a string of events expected to bolster the region's space industry. Musk said the mix of residential solar sales "continues to shift towards cash and loan as compared to leasing". But, a brilliant innovator, he has introduced competition to what had always been a stagnant industry and has introduced badly needed technological innovations. What can we take from all of this? The first Falcon Heavy carried a vehicle and a dummy.

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