SpaceX launched one of the heaviest rockets, Falcon Heavy, carrying a cherry red Tesla Roadster.
The rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, with hundreds of people gathered to witness the spectacle. It cleared the launch pad, without blowing up and that is what Elon Musk considers as a win already. The rocket carries the chief executive officer’s cherry red Tesla Roadster toward an Earth-Mars elliptical orbit around the sun.
About the rocket
Falcon Heavy is a large, reusable launch vehicle that will allow closely held SpaceX to bid on heavier payloads than it can with its Falcon 9, such as big commercial satellites and national security missions, reports Livemint.
The car inside the rocket had a camera which streamed a video of the mission for six hours. ‘Starman’, a dummy is inside the car. A nearly indestructible disk carrying a digital copy of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction book series, Foundation, is also on board, plus a plaque engraved with the names of SpaceX’s 6,000 employees.
Three rocket cores were supposed to come back to Earth, two were supposed to land in tandem and one was supposed to land in an unmanned drone ship in the Atlantic. The two rockets came back and made a proper landing in Florida, but the one that was supposed to land in the ocean did not.
“A private company just outperformed every government on earth,” said Greg Autry, a professor at the University of Southern California and a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) White House liaison. “This is bigger than anything Russia or China is doing. No one else is even close,” according to Livemint.
“With this debut, the Falcon Heavy aims to become the most capable launch vehicle available. It is designed to deliver a maximum payload to low-Earth orbit of 64 tonnes – the equivalent of putting five London double-decker buses in space. Such performance is slightly more than double that of the world’s next most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy – but at one-third of the cost,” says Mr Musk
The car that was aimed at Mars’ orbit overshot its trajectory and has put the Tesla in an orbit that extends out into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.