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The World’s Largest Commercial Rocket Has Just Launched!

SpaceX's Success Creates New Expectations For Space Travel

James Haberstich, Co-Editor In Chief

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On Tuesday, February 5, 2017, billionaire Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, launched what is to be considered the world’s most powerful commercial rocket. The rocket, named the Falcon Heavy, launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This rocket is the main competition of the Delta IV Heavy, being one-third of the cost, and having twice the launching power. Due to the fact that the Falcon Heavy is able to send its boosters back to Earth to recover, its costs are severely reduced (Thehill.com).

The Falcon Heavy’s successful launch. Photo credit to www.wired.com.

However, the Falcon Heavy was not alone in space. Strapped to the top of the rocket was Elon Musk’s personal cherry red Tesla automobile. Inside the vehicle was a mannequin, as well as a quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic!” (Cnn.com). The reason for this strange cargo? Elon Musk stated that the first thing that would ride on the Falcon Heavy would be, “the silliest thing” he could imagine (Theverge.com). SpaceX also noted that this rocket would be capable of sending humans to Mars if needed, and there are other projects for space travel to Mars in the works (Cnn.com).

The payload of the Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk’s personal cherry red Tesla. Photo credit to www.sofrep.com.

The rocket is currently in orbit, and it will most likely not be back for a while. It is expected to launch a Saudi Arabian satellite, Arabsat 6A, sometime soon this year. The Falcon Heavy is also expected to send payloads from the US Air Force as well as additional communications satellites for Inmarsat and Viasat. In the meantime, its success has created a strong reputation and high expectations for future projects. After launching, two of the rocket cores on the Falcon Heavy successfully landed back on Earth. The center core of the spacecraft did not land as expected, but after yesterday’s launch, SpaceX has officially had 23 spacecrafts land upright (Theverge.com).

The Falcon Heavy is setting a new standard for future space travel, and it is only a matter of time before the technology advances further. Will there be cost-effective space travel in the future? Will humans eventually be able to travel to Mars to sightsee, or even live? The answers to these questions are unknown at this moment, but one thing is certain. The Falcon Heavy is the first step to better space travel, and it seems the only way the industry can go is up.

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The World’s Largest Commercial Rocket Has Just Launched!