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Musk’s Falcon launches new era in space race

Successful launch and recovery sparks renewed interest in reusable space vehicles.

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For those of you who are unaware, Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, made history. In 2015 SpaceX made history by re-landing a rocket on Earth, but they decided to do much bigger and better things. On February 2, 2018 they successfully launched the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket ever to be made.

The Falcon Heavy was made in a state-of-the-art facility in McGregor, Texas and cost Musk $90 million to make and launch. However, this is very cheap compared to the most recent most powerful rocket in the world, the Delta IV, which is made by United Launch Alliance and cost them $400 million per launch.

While the Falcon Heavy cost much less than it’s predecessor, it is two times as powerful and can carry much more weight and cargo than the Delta IV. The reason that the cost is so cheap is because Space X is re-using rockets from their previous Falcon 9 launches that landed back on Earth.

Within the entire Falcon Heavy’s makeup, there are three separate rockets that have nine engines each. Two of the three rockets that were used have been used and landed once before in Falcon 9 missions to space.

The Falcon Heavy also contained something inside of it that is out of the ordinary: a cherry red Tesla roadster. Owner of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, said that he enjoys the idea of one his cars floating aimlessly in space for a future alien civilization to find.

Cherry red Tesla that was launched into space by the Falcon Heavy

 

Musk has been known for his what seem to be crazy ideas such as the idea of establishing a civilization on Mars. Musk believes that the Falcon Heavy is the rocket that will one day soon take us to Mars and many other distant planets.

Early in 2017, two people booked a flight on the very first trip to Mars. I had the opportunity to ask our very own Mr. Suer if he would take a flight to Mars and he said: “Oh absolutely, if I had the money, I would definitely do that.”

Mr. Suer also informed me of a very good point, that the orbits of Mars and the Earth do not coincide, so you would have to wait on the surface of the planet for months or even years for the opportunity to return home.

Musk said in an interview that he did not think that the launch of the Falcon Heavy would honestly work due to the fact that they had to launch three rockets at the same exact time, maintain the same exact speed, and also re-land all three of the rockets.

However, along with millions of spectators, Musk watched as he made history by not only successfully launching the rocket, but he also re-landed two of the three rockets used with no complications.

The only rocket that did not successfully make it back was the center-core which collided with the water at 300 mph due to the fact that some of the engines did not ignite to slow it’s landing. Musk later said that this was not a problem because they were not planning on re-using the center-core anyway.

You currently can watch the launch and landing of Falcon Heavy and the beautiful cherry red Tesla roadster float in space here.

After the launch, Musk said that the launch taught him that crazy ideas can truly come true.

Even with all of Musk’s success and fame, he still maintains the same goal: to create a new space race. His goal of creating SpaceX was not to profit off it but to encourage governments to fund their space exploration programs.

Musk has brought a great amount of attention and interest back into space exploration and may possibly be encouraging governments to invest more into their space programs. I personally believe that Musk will achieve his out of this world goal of sending the very first person to Mars. Who knows, maybe one of us will one day live there.

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About the Writer
Tyler Eshman '18, Staff Writer
Senior planning to attend Ohio University. “There’s no nobility in poverty.” -Jordan Belfort
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Musk’s Falcon launches new era in space race