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Now for something happier – SpaceX Falcon Heavy successfully launches February 6, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, blogfoolery, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, Society, technology, Victory.
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I don’t know if you got to see the launch, but over 5 million pounds of thrust shook Launch pad 39A at Cape Canaveral for the first time in 45 years as SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket conducted an almost entirely successful test flight.  I say almost entirely, because at the time I am writing this, it is not known if the core booster successfully landed on the drone ship in the Atlantic (the side boosters did land).

Footage of the launch below.

The payload was Elon Musk’s 2008 Tesla roadster fitted with a manikin in an astronaut’s suit.  They are still livestreaming footage of that, dubbed “Starman:”

Both the Tesla roadster and the 2nd stage of the Falcon Heavy are en route to a solar orbit that will have them pass somewhere out around the orbit of Mars.

While this initial version of Falcon Heavy was significantly dialed back in terms of thrust and payload potential, given how SpaceX has constantly, incrementally increased the thrust and payload of its Falcon 9, I expect them to do the same with Falcon Heavy.  I wouldn’t doubt if a nearly 6 million pound thrust version may enter service at some point.

The launch coverage was thoroughly enjoyable to watch.  The immense joy of SpaceX employees in the background, shouting and whooping it up as the rocket successfully executed each step of the launch cycle, was contagious.

Congratulations to SpaceX.  I think BFR and Mars colonization are a bit too ambitious even for Elon Musk, but what they have accomplished so far they have every right to be extremely proud of.

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Comments

1. Xopher - February 7, 2018

I tuned in just in time to see the side booster separation through the end of the live footage. An hour or so later, flustered about not having heard the fate of the center booster, I asked the interwebs what was up. Some very observant observers noted that in the video just after the screen goes black on the drone ship, they cut back to the studio where you can watch the smoke clear from the pad on one of the screens in the background. At the same time, they start to announce something and then stop themselves. Oopsie. Methinks it’s a goner. But the rest of it was fun to watch.

2. Richard Malcolm - February 7, 2018

“The payload was Elon Musk’s 2008 Tesla roadster fitted with a manikin in an astronaut’s suit.”

A few killjoys are turning their noses up at the car and mannequin. But the standard alternative is a few thousand pounds of concrete. Starman at least generated millions of views and social media you simply can’t buy.

Maybe a few of these kids might even decide to become engineers out of it.

Tantumblogo - February 7, 2018

I loved it. I thought it was great, even though they overshot the mark by a few million miles.

Only saddening thing was the loss of the core. It hit the Atlantic at 300 mph very near the drone ship.

3. Numbskull - February 8, 2018

That was pretty cool, surprised they didn’t play ground control to major tom.


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