Real life Iron Man, Elon Musk has been featured a lot in the news recently for launching one of the world’s most powerful rockets, Falcon Heavy. SpaceX’ latest rocket blasted off its first test flight carrying a red Tesla roadster along with it. If you have not been able to follow the news or the launch of this iconic rocket, here are 10 facts to bring you up to speed.
1. On February 6, 2018, SpaceX launched it’s Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, into an orbit that stretches into the asteroid belt.
2. Elon Musk was not sure if the launch would be a success. The launch of the rocket was delayed by three hours citing high winds.
3. After a successful launch, two of Falcon’s rocket cores successfully touched down back on Earth after takeoff. However, the middle core of SpaceX’s huge rocket missed the drone ship where it was supposed to land. Relighting one of the three engines necessary to land, the center core landed in the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Falcon Heavy is considered to be the most powerful rocket ever created, since the Shuttle System and second only to the Saturn V rockets, which carried men to the moon during the Apollo era.
5. The Tesla Roadster has the message “Don’t panic!” stamped on the dashboard and David Bowie playing on the speakers. The $100,000 car will cruise through high energy radiation belts, Van Allen belts, that circuit Earth towards deep space.
6. The Tesla cruised through space for a good six hours which was also live streamed by SpaceX. The car was then pushed out towards its elliptical orbit around Mars, once the upper stage’s systems survived being bombarded with all the radiation, firing and pushing the car forward for one last time.
Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. pic.twitter.com/bKhRN73WHF
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2018
7. Experts along with Elon Musk are still unclear about what will happen to the car. Planetary scientists have been asking about the details regarding the car’s exact orbit to calculate the Tesla’s odds of collision and how long it will actually last in deep space.
8. The successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket along with its capabilities of putting objects into deep space and landing back on Earth demonstrates the possibility of creating low production cost rockets and ability to reuse them in the future.
9. The success of this launch makes it easier for governments and businesses to lift massive projects into space or set off deep space missions, marking a major step toward cheaper, more frequent spaceflight programs.
10. Falcon Heavy’s capabilities of putting objects into deep space also opens up avenues for space companies, like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries to send their spacecrafts into the asteroid belt. Currently, both the space companies are working on technologies to mine water from asteroids in the near future.
Watch the Elon Musk’s dummy astronaut orbiting Earth in a Tesla in this time lapse video.