Heavy Falcon

Space X: the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket was a complete success, and Elon Musk was allowed to target Mars.

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In an apocalyptic thunder of fire and noise, SpaceX has just launched its Falcon Heavy rocket, "the most powerful rocket in the world", on Tuesday, February 6 at 9:50 p.m. French time. This first launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida was a perfect success in all its phases. It is the first milestone of the Martian conquest, a crazy dream of its rich and whimsical boss Elon Musk.

 
Ahe leader of the American company, which has already significantly reduced costs and revolutionized the ecosystem of space launches by bringing its launchers back to land - and even to sea - now wants to bring the conquest of space into a new era.
 
And since Elon Musk, an entrepreneurial genius who had been taken to task by the aerospace industry in the early days of SpaceX does nothing like others, he has decided that the Falcon Heavy will be crewed by a mannequin in a space suit at the wheel of a cherry red electric car: his latest Tesla convertible.
 
Musk's 2008 red Tesla Roadster ready to go into space on the Falcon Heavy rocket
 
"I love the idea of a car seemingly drifting endlessly in space and possibly being discovered by an alien race millions of years from now."...imagined last year by Mr. Musk, who wants nothing more and nothing less than to colonize Mars.
 
The destination of this flight is deep space, at a distance roughly equivalent to the distance of Mars from the Sun, where the spacecraft will be placed in orbit after the three launchers return to Earth.
 
Colossal stakes
The launch was a success but the outcome was not a foregone conclusion. SpaceX, which had conducted only static tests, was aware of the risk of a glitch. And Elon Musk himself had hammered home on Monday that it would already be a success if the rocket "leaves the launch pad and doesn't pulverize it into a thousand pieces.
So when all 27 rocket engines ignited at the same time, the spectators on the stage were holding their breath. It took 2,500 tons of thrust to get that monster off the ground. It was unheard of. After the first phases of the launch had been completed, the little Tesla convertible went into orbit for a successful baroque journey to the confines of space, the highlight of the show was the perfect return and landing at the planned location of the side launchers. Soft landing of rockets ready to leave for a new trip.
 
La Tesla, in space, Tuesday, February 6 at 10:00 p.m. (French time). Image Space X
 
Musk's stated caution may have been intended to ward off bad luck, but it was justified by the huge stakes involved in the project. In technological terms, of course, but also in terms of the economies of scale that such a success can mean. Indeed, SpaceX claims that Falcon Heavy "can launch twice as much payload as the most powerful rocket in operation today, the Delta IV Heavy, at a third of the price". The world's largest and cheapest launcher. According to United Launch Alliance, which operates the Delta IVs, the cost of a launch is $350 million.
 
In addition, there is a significant geostrategic dimension. If SpaceX wins its bet, NASA will be able to do without the help of the Russians and their Soyuz ship to send men into space. Space X has already won a $1.6 billion contract with the US space agency to supply the International Space Station.

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With its power, only surpassed in history by NASA's Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts from the Apollo missions to the Moon, the Falcon Heavy will be able to put up to 63.8 tonnes into low Earth orbit, nearly three times the payload that a Falcon 9 can carry.
The Falcon Heavy launcher, imposing with its 70-metre height, is based on three reusable boosters, each consisting of nine conical engines. Unlike most booster systems, these boosters are not intended for single use. A rocket that will undoubtedly overshadow European projects, including Ariane 6, which does not use this technology.
 
The Falcon Heavy rocket at the time of its takeoff, February 6 at 9:50 pm.
 
Contradicting a press release from his own company, Elon Musk, in true rocker language, explained on Monday that it will not actually be the Falcon Heavy but the BFR "Big fucking rocket" that will be able to transport humans to the Moon or Mars. The Falcon Heavy thus paves the way to the Red Planet. Because what Elon Musk wants is to make humans an "interplanetary species" by establishing a colony on Mars. Aboard reusable rockets and spaceships still under development, one hundred people could travel to the Red Planet every trip.
 
The goal is to transport up to one million people there in the next century. Test flights could begin within the next ten years.

Source: AFP

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