SpaceX is About to Launch Their Groundbreaking Falcon Heavy Rocket

Saturday, 03 February 2018 - 4:32PM
Space
SpaceX
Saturday, 03 February 2018 - 4:32PM
SpaceX is About to Launch Their Groundbreaking Falcon Heavy Rocket
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SpaceX
SpaceX has been extremely busy lately, having overseen several launches of varying success over the past month alone. But this week will be even more important.

Elon Musk's aerospace company is preparing to launch their Falcon Heavy rocket this week, on Tuesday, February 6, assuming everything goes according to plan. And it does seem to be going smoothly so far, as the Federal Aviation Administration just issued a launch license for SpaceX to send their gigantic spacecraft into the sky.

And yes, it does indeed contain a "modified Tesla Roadster" according to the license, meaning that Musk was telling the truth when he claimed he'd be launching his own car into space (his jokes have a habit of actually coming to fruition, as his recent flamethrower sale demonstrates). 

Falcon Heavy demo mission payload

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What makes the Falcon Heavy special, beyond being SpaceX's largest rocket to date, is that this could be the spacecraft that ends up transporting humans to Mars later down the line. It certainly has the power and structure to move living humans to the Moon, Mars, or an even farther destination, and Musk has talked plenty about his goal of starting a Martian colony within the next decade.

Charles Miller, president of space consulting firm NexGen Space LLC, told The Verge that he believes a successful Falcon Heavy launch could open up a lot of options for NASA: 

Opening quote
"Having affordable commercial heavy-lift is the only thing keeping NASA from going back to the Moon and on to Mars. NASA has been trying this for over a decade, but it's been unaffordable. If you can get a heavy lift launch vehicle for under $100 million it changes everything."
Closing quote


There's a lot on the line for this launch, and SpaceX could use the victory, having recently gotten themselves into hot water after losing the mysterious ZUMA satellite for the U.S. government, and they've had their fair share of explosively unsuccessful launches before then. They may be prepared for such a major milestone in the company's history, but it's all too easy for things to go wrong with something as complex as a rocket launch.

But if it works, we could be one step closer to humans setting foot on Mars. And they'd have a nice Tesla to drive around the Martian surface once they get there.


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