There is nothing quite as spectacular as a successful rocket launch; it is a wonderment of aerospace engineering. We have also now as a species become accustomed to seeing rockets landing after being fired - and then being reused again. This is all thanks to the aerospace engineering company known as SpaceX. They have just made engineering history with their spacecraft, the Falcon Heavy.

Their engineering prowess has sent the most powerful rocket in history up into lower earth orbit. SpaceX managed to get all of the rocket’s 140,000 lbs (63502.9318 kgs) into lower earth orbit. 27 engines and 5 million pounds of thrust is what it took to get Falcon Heavy up, up, and away.

The rocket is twice as powerful as any other rocket that has ever been engineered.

In an interview with The Verge, CEO of SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk said:

“It’s going to show that we can do giant rockets again. Most space organizations - governmental or commercial - have set their sights too low; they’ve really built relatively small rockets. Falcon Heavy is the first time that there is something that is arguably in the super heavy class - or somewhere in between heavy and super heavy. Showing that you can launch a giant rocket and have it be commercially viable - carry satellites, potentially carry people.”

 

Floating in space

Falcon Heavy’s payload was fitted with something quite special; Elon Musk’s very first cherry red Tesla Roadster. Inside the Roadster sits an empty SpaceX spacesuit. The payload is now on its way into deep space and will pass Mars - a planet SpaceX wants to send astronauts to one day. Cameras captured the event which included the space-suited Starman (as SpaceX named him).

 

Taking to Twitter, Musk spoke about his excitement at sending a car into space. He wrote:

“I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race million of years in the future.”

The fact that Falcon Heavy launched successfully is an anomaly in itself. Engineering experts doubted that it would take off, half expecting it to simply explode trying to launch. However, SpaceX has proven that heavy rocket launching at a lower cost is possible. It is a big moment for space exploration and for aerospace engineering. 

Now it is all-hands-on-deck for crew Dragon, says Musk. This crew refers to the American astronauts being prepped for space. The Falcon 9 spacecraft rocket (which has seen much success in SpaceX launches), with a Dragon spacecraft fitted to it, is earmarked to take the humans into space soon.

Otherwise, Tesla is testing their BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) technology to gage the likelihood of sending astronauts to Mars. They have also single handedly started a new space race between government space agencies and commercial space companies. What is undeniable is that aerospace engineering is getting its day in the sun as orbits the sun.

 

Works Cited

“Elon Musk on How Falcon Heavy Will Change Space Travel.” YouTube, 7 Feb. 2018, youtu.be/I7LJIuB2CHE.