We've already established that Elon Musk takes all his jokes seriously, so when he said he'll send a Tesla Roadster to space, we believed him. The Falcon Heavy it will be sitting on top of will have no trouble lifting the 2 ton weight of the vehicle. Musk would later confirm that it survived its trip through Earth's Van Allen radiation belt and was on its way to an orbit beyond that of Mars and into the asteroid belt.
The SpaceX launch is reportedly a test for carrying heavy telecommunications satellites, and eventually humans, into space. The real success of Tuesday's event was managing to build a launch vehicle out of those reusable rockets that is capable of lifting nearly twice as much into orbit as any other rocket in production. Musk certainly grabbed the media's attention, now all he needs if a faultless launch later today.
SpaceX took a lot of time to develop its powerful rocket, and spent more than half a billion dollars doing so, according to Musk.
Musk first promised that a demonstration flight of the massive rocket would occur in 2012, but the company, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., found that development of the 27-engine behemoth was more hard than initially expected. At the wheel is a space suit-adorned mannequin called "Starman". "NSS members look forward to seeing NASA join the US military in making use of the commercially competitive FH, now the most capable rocket currently flying". And the SLS is created to have greater capability than the Falcon Heavy.
Heavy rain continues across the Valley
This weekend's rain could linger on and off into next week, with several potentially rainy periods through the upcoming week. The heaviest rain is expected to fall along the I-95 corridor, where between 2 and 3 inches of rain is possible.
"I feel quite giddy and happy, actually", Musk said. SpaceX has planned flights for the the U.S. Air Force and Arabsat, a Saudi Arabian communications company. The targeted prices that SpaceX promises with the FH - below $1,000 per pound - will be a breakthrough moment in the realization of ambitious future space business sectors such as Space Solar Power.
SpaceX said the Falcon Heavy cost about $500 million to develop, and it has priced flights at $90 million.
In a letter to shareholders released today by the company, Musk and Tesla CFO Deepak Ahuja write that "the upcoming autonomous coast-to-coast drive will showcase a major leap forward for our self-driving technology".
The chemist did, however, say that disabling the airbags and not filling up the washer fluid before it was launched would be advised.
The company is developing a spacecraft that can fly humans - a first for the company - into orbit. The company said in February past year that the rocket would send two people on a trip around the moon, but Musk said there's been a change of plans.