The first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket has been successfully completed, demonstrating immense power that can put heavy cargo into orbit for a cost that is only a fraction of other existing space launch systems.
The Falcon Heavy, which is now the world’s most powerful rocket, took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida last Tuesday and successfully launched into orbit its unusual payload, company chief Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster sports car.
The launch marks the first time that a vehicle of such size has been launched by a commercial company. It features 27 engines, which is more than any other rocket around the world, and it has a thrust of 5 million pounds during liftoff.
The successful test flight shows off to future customers the power of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is able to put around 140,000 pounds of cargo into the lower earth orbit. This translates to more than twice as much weight as any other operational rocket today.
The Falcon Heavy rocket could potentially allow the launch of heavier satellites into orbit, as well as sending large spacecraft into deep space.
Aside from the successful launch, SpaceX also successfully recovered two of the rocket’s three reusable cores. Its two side boosters flew back to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and landed on twin pads without any problems.
However, the center booster was not able to make it to its intended landing site on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The booster was able to detach from the rocket as planned, but its fate was not immediately confirmed as it failed to land on the robotic ship.
Still, the launch was a big success for SpaceX, and it bodes well for the future of space flight. SpaceX offers the cheapest cost of space launches than any other system, thanks to its use of recyclable cores. Musk has long stood by the idea that reusing rockets is the key to making spaceflight affordable enough for humans to be able to travel to Mars.