SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket despite the belief that it won’t make it in its maiden launch. The rocket took off from the iconic Pad 39A of Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch pad is the same as the one used for Apollo 11’s first manned mission to moon in 1969. Ahead of its launch, CEO Elon Musk had said that he is not sure the rocket will make it and hoped that it did not destroy the pad during liftoff.
Now that the rocket has successfully lifted itself and is well on its way to the orbit, here are the five key takeaways from the successful flight of Falcon Heavy:
Largest rocket in operation
With the successful launch, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy is now officially the most powerful rocket in operation. The Falcon Heavy comprises of three Falcon 9 cores translating to 27 merlin engines and it generates more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. The rocket has the ability to deliver payload of up to 63,800kg to Leo and 16,800 kg to Mars.
Simultaneous reentry of two boosters
Alongside the launch of Falcon Heavy, SpaceX also successfully recovered two of the three Falcon 9 rocket boosters. While SpaceX had recovered rockets 21 times in the past, the recovery was made extraordinary by the fact that it did simultaneous recovery of two rockets this time. SpaceX has proved that it is easier than ever before to recover rockets and relaunch them once again.
Possibility of manned mission to Mars
The biggest takeaway from the successful first flight of Falcon Heavy is the company’s efforts to put humans in Mars. SpaceX is the most vocal space exploration company that has its goals set on sending humans to space. When it starts its first manned mission sometime in 2020, the company will use Falcon Heavy rocket and by that time, it will have done more missions with real payload.
A car in space
With Falcon Heavy, SpaceX is sending its co-founder Elon Musk’s 2008 Cherry Red Tesla Roadster to space. The car is the first payload onboard Falcon Heavy and the company streamed it cruising through space for six straight hours. While the Tesla was destined to reach to the distance of Mars’ orbit, the rocket has overshot, putting the Tesla in an orbit extending into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Among many of the small feats achieved with the successful launch of Falcon Heavy, SpaceX also demonstrated its Spacesuit for astronauts heading to space. The mannequin named Starman seated on Musk’s Roadster is wearing the spacesuit and will send valuable data regarding the condition of spacesuit while orbiting through space. The suit will be worn by NASA astronauts traveling to International Space Station onboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule later this year.