Elon Musk Shows Off the Powerful SpaceX 'Falcon Heavy' Rocket
Elon Musk is probably in a pretty good mood today, since he's showing off some impressive new SpaceX technology on Twitter again.
Taking to the social media platform, Musk has released the first public images of the Falcon Heavy, an enormous mega-rocket which is scheduled to blast off for the first time at some point in January (and that, as with the Falcon 9, is probably named after the famous Star Wars ship).
In anticipation of the big event, the Falcon Heavy has been moved to Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. While there, it seems that Musk has taken the opportunity to snap a few photos so that he can brag online about how big his spaceship is:
Falcon Heavy at the Cape pic.twitter.com/hizfDVsU7X— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2017
Zaphod Beeblebrox's "Do you wanna see my spaceship?" pick-up line has nothing on this.
The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful commercial spaceship that's ever been constructed, and the largest of its kind since the creation of NASA's Saturn V, which was built in 1967. It's pretty safe to say that we're reaching a new era of excitement and development surrounding space travel, as commercial bodies rush to try and gain a foothold on an emerging industry.
The big question is whether or not all of these companies can compete in an increasingly busy market, and whether the financial rewards for space travel will actually make this entire endeavor worthwhile. It's entirely possible that space could be the new gold rush, with hapless investors rushing to stake a claim on a particular lunar mine long before actually knowing whether or not they can get stuff back to Earth in an affordable fashion.
One thing's for certain - if any company looks set to be able to take control of the space commerce market and beat out its rivals, it's SpaceX. With the increased expenditure, though, comes a certain amount of risk, and Musk stands to lose a lot of money if the Falcon Heavy doesn't turn out to be as influential and important as he hopes that it'll be.
Of course, it's hard to tell how much of Musk's current plans are motivated by a genuine desire to rules the space economy, and how much simply comes from the eccentricity of an obscenely wealthy man with a passion for the stars.
Certainly, the first mission that the Falcon Heavy will undertake suggests that Musk is really only in this for kicks and giggles. When the rocket launches next month, it'll be taking Musk's own cherry red Tesla roadster up into space, launching it on a one-way trip into orbit around Mars:
Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017
0 to 100 km/h in 1.9 sec pic.twitter.com/xTOTDGuwQj— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 17, 2017
Plus a towel and a sign saying "Don't Panic"— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 8, 2017
Some of this might be a joke, it's getting really hard to tell with old Elon ever since The Boring Company turned into a real project.
Presumably, Musk doesn't expect that he'll actually ever manage to retrieve it from the Red Planet. This is a symbol: space belongs to Elon Musk, and it's now become his enormous garage. It doesn't matter if SpaceX proves to be a risky financial endeavor. Musk isn't in this for fortune - he wants to conquer space out of a desire for glory.