Today, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, SpaceX will launch the Falcon Heavy, which is touted to be the world’s most powerful rocket. This marks a significant advancement in human history, as we reach to colonize the other celestial bodies in our solar system, and eventually our galaxy and the universe.
Elon Musk has included a Tesla Roadster as the payload for this first ever Falcon heavy rocket launch. Musk wrote that his car will be playing the song “Space Oddity” and “will be in deep space for a billion years or so — if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”
Check out this infograph of the Falcon Heavy’s trajectory:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
Listen to All Things Considered’s coverage of the story:
Here’s where you can view the live stream today starting at 10:30 PST (13:30 EST) (Updated launch time is 13:05 PST (15:05 EST)):
Here’s what you need to know about the Falcon Heavy:
- The Falcon Heavy is the latest advance from the rocket company SpaceX, and it’s a step toward the company’s goal of sending people to Mars.
- “The future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a spacefaring civilization and a multi-planet species than if we’re not,” said SpaceX founder Elon Musk in a recent speech.
- He created SpaceX in 2002 to dramatically lower the cost of spaceflight, and its rock-bottom launch prices have quickly attracted plenty of customers, like satellite companies and the government.
- Not only will the Falcon Heavy be able to carry more than twice as much mass to orbit as the next most powerful competitor, the Delta IV Heavy, but it will also do so at one-third the cost, according to SpaceX.
- The Falcon Heavy’s price tag is around $90 million, says John Holst, a research analyst at the Space Foundation.
- “This is a rocket of truly huge scale,” Musk told reporters in 2011, when he unveiled plans for the Falcon Heavy. He said the behemoth was being designed to take a tremendous payload to orbit — more mass than, say, a Boeing 737 fully loaded with passengers, luggage and fuel.
- “That is really, really humungous,” noted Musk. “It’s more payload capability than any vehicle in history apart from the Saturn V” — NASA’s famous moon rocket.
- “It’s exciting that he has built this rocket because it’s clearly not for traditional commercial purposes of launching satellites. It’s really for sending spacecraft farther away, to the moon and, you know, as far as Mars,” says Leroy Chiao, a former NASA astronaut who serves on a safety advisory council for Space X.
- This first flight does have a payload that will be jettisoned into deep space. On Twitter, Musk said he is launching a cherry-red electric sports car made by one of his other companies, Tesla. Musk wrote that his car will be playing the song “Space Oddity” and “will be in deep space for a billion years or so — if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”