At the beginning of February 2018, SpaceX has launched the most powerful rocket, called the Falcon Heavy. It took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and carried its first cargo – a red Tesla roadster – into the orbit. This launch marks the first time a vehicle has been sent up by a commercial company.
It can be said that launching the Falcon Heavy rocket sets the bar for space launches in the future. Now, we will show you 12 amazing things about SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket so that you can understand better.
1. All about the Falcon’s name
If you are a fan of Star Wars, you definitively know a character named Han Solo. He is a captain of his ship, the Millennium Falcon.
2. It’s a massive rocket
The Falcon Heavy rocket is measured 230 feet (70 meters) tall. Although it looks impressive, it’s not the biggest one if compared with NASA’s Saturn V rocket (330 feet = 111 meters).
3. It’s designed to be reusable
The initial goal of SpaceX was the growth of a system of reusable spaceships. As you know, one of the biggest cost factors behind rockets was that they had to build a new one for every launch. Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, also compared it to if planes had to be canceled after each flight.
That’s why SpaceX concentrated on how to return its spaceship to Earth without catching any problem. Last year, this company did when trying toland a Falcon 9 booster onto a pilotless aircraft in the Atlantic.
After the first successful landing, SpaceX has continued landing more than 20 Falcon 9 back on Earth safely.
4. It includes 3 rockets
If the last year’s Falcon 9 has only one booster rocket, the Falcon Heavy has three ones including one core booster and two first-stage ones.
Thanks to the three booster rockets, the Falcon Heavy is known as one of the most powerful operational ones, boasting up to 5 million pounds of thrust. Relying on that, it can carry 70 tons of payload into space.
One of the greatest moments of this launch was when the two first-stage boosters landed in sync back to Earth at a landing area. However, the core booster didn’t land successfully and fell into the landing drone ship in the ocean.
5. To be known as the rocket car
Normally, when a new rocket is launched, the cargo is a concrete block. But, Musk reckoned that it was boring and changed for a cherry-red Tesla roadster with a dummy astronaut in the driver’s seat. This vehicle is placed atop the Falcon Heavy’s second stage.
6. It can transport whales
For a trip to Earth orbit, the Falcon Heavy can transport up to 140,700 pounds. This weight is equivalent to two humpback whales. But, when it flies too Mars, it just holds 37,000 pounds which are estimated 31 grand pianos.
7. See the car in space
The Tesla Roadster has some cameras mounted on it in order to transfer a 24/7 live stream.
8. This rocket reaches Mars and beyond
Musk posted a tweet on his Twitter to celebrate the Falcon Heavy’s third successful burn. The second-stage with attached Tesla roadster might be in an elliptical orbit surrounding the Sun for millions or billions of years. And at the press conference, the company’s CEO joked that perhaps aliens would discover it.
9. Some interesting things on the Tesla Roadster
- There are a small roadster and spaceman on the dashboard.
- Additionally, there is a display of “Don’t Panic!” on the dashboard’s screen.
- A statement of “Made on Earth by humans” is printed on the car’s circuit board.
- The names of 6,000 SpaceX employees are engraved in a plague in the car.
- A digital copy of sci-fi books from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation is kept in the vehicle.
10. The rocket has taken longer than planned
Concepts for the roadster were first introduced in 2004, and SpaceX revealed the plan at a 2011 conference. Although an early test flight was planned to take place in 2013, it was delayed by 5 years because of structural challenges.
11. The Falcon Heavy isn’t too expensive
Launching the Falcon Heavy rocket didn’t cost too much. The price for each flight is around $90 million which is known as a small number when it comes to space launches.
12. SpaceX is ready to carry out the next steps
Elton Musk affirmed that the Falcon Heavy is settled to be a payload rocket and will be launched again in three to six months. And it will be used to transfer cargos like satellites for both the military and private companies, similar to the Falcon 9.
He also confirmed that this rocket might send off twice as much cargo as otherspacecrafts in the world. It can launch things right to Mars, Pluto and even beyond.
After the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX is developing another larger rocket called the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). If you’re familiar with the game Doom, you will know a gun named BFG8000 (though F in this game means F******).
This rocket will avail 31 engines and is able to carry 150 tons which are twice than the Falcon Heavy can. And its purpose is to bring people on space for explorations, like reaching Mars. However, we have to wait for more three or four years to see its launch.
Generally, the test launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is a big BOOM. And after reading all the 12 amazing things about this rocket, what do you think? Just WOW, right?
Watch a video below to get a closer look at the Falcon Heavy Rocket test flight!