A Day Long Remembered

Well, we hope that today is one that will be long remembered for the successful flight of the Falcon Heavy.

At about 10:30 am Pacific time, if weather and technical issues allow, SpaceX will attempt to flight the Flacon Heavy, which is essentially three Falcon 9 strapped together. Unlike other large rockets with large side boosters, SpaceX, as they have done on a number of Falcon 9 missions, will attempt to recover the rockets after flight, landing two of them back at the Kennedy Space Center and the center rocket on the floating barge, Of Course I Still Love You.

The upper stage, after loitering in orbit for six hours will boost the test payload into an elliptical orbit that nears, but does not intersect with the planet Mars. That upper stage will not be recovered and the payload will coast between Earth and Mars into the indefinite future.

Here’s video from SpaceX, with a hat tip to the late David Bowie, showing the planned mission.

 

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One thought on “A Day Long Remembered”

  1. Watched the launch live. Wow, it was really spectacular to watch those twin boosters land simultaneously! Apparently the core booster failed landing and crashed 100 meters off the drone-ship at a speed of 300 mph.

    According to a post launch interview, Musk said the spacesuit in the Tesla is an operational version of the SpaceX spacesuit stuffed with a mannequin. He mentioned SpaceX took three year to develop that spacesuit.

    Also, Musk mentioned hopper tests of the BFR spaceship may occur as early as next year. First orbital test of the complete BFR system may be as early as 3-4 years from now.

    I doubt that BFR will fly to LEO that early. However, I’m betting that BFR will still beat the NASA SLS for a first manned flight beyond LEO!

    At the very worst, the low cost combined with the high performance of the Falcon Heavy can open up new frontiers of military space payloads and unmanned interplanetary exploration missions. Musk mentioned that Falcon Heavy can deliver payloads to Pluto without gravity assist.

    The success of Falcon Heavy is presenting the new NASA administration and Washington D.C. with a key moment of decision on Federal policy for future manned space exploration. What decision is made and just as importantly how that is followed through, could make the difference between continuing the status quo stagnation or leaping ahead. I hope for the best, but expect the worst.

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