Is he a mad-man or a genius? That’s for you to decide. All we know is that Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla and the founder of SpaceX, is daring.
Hours ago, Musk released footage portraying the journey of the mannequin Starman and his red Tesla Roadster cruising on the Falcon Heavy rocket through space. There’s even a handy note for aliens attached; it reads, “Made on Earth by humans.”
The launch of the Falcon X — the most powerful rocket presently in operation (second only to the Saturn V rockets which carried men to the moon during the Apollo era) — took place on February 6, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Cape Canaveral, in Florida, to witness the historic event.
Reportedly, even Musk was surprised that his plan worked. He put the chance of a fully successful launch at 50 percent. And on the day, the launch was delayed by over three hours, reportedly due to high winds. Fortunately, the winds died down. As the sky cleared, the Falcon took off and made history.
People cheered as the side boosters separated and danced back down to Earth. When it was clear that the rocket had launched successfully, David Bowie’s Life on Mars began to play at the SpaceX launch center. Tweeted Musk, “Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth.”
The Roadster is attached to the rocket’s upper stage and will spend hours being zapped by radioactive rays in the Van Allen belts. After that, the uppers stage boosters will launch the Tesla out towards its elliptical orbit around Mars. If that plan fails, the Tesla Roadster may orbit Earth indefinitely.
Musk has made a huge statement by transporting a car to space — for fun. Thanks to his and his employees’ ingenuity, the cost of space flight has been reduced from billions to millions. The Falcon Heavy launch cost $90 million, for instance, while NASA’s planned SLS rocket (a comparable system) will likely cost about $1 billion per flight.
Though Musk was criticized for his plan, no one can say it didn’t work. Said Musk before liftoff:
“If we are successful, it’s game over for other operators of heavy-lift rockets. It’s like where one aircraft company has reusable aircraft and all the other aircraft companies had aircraft that were single-use, and you’d sort of parachute out at your destination and the plane would crash land somewhere. Crazy at it sounds, that’s how the rocket business works.”
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Source: The Guardian