Tuesday/ a Falcon that’s Heavy

Elon Musk’s SpaceX team had a spectacularly successful Falcon rocket lift-off and recovery of two booster units today. (The middle booster failed to land on its drone ship target and was lost).

This rocket is called Falcon Heavy because it can lift nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lbs) into orbit*.  Check out the photos that SpaceX had posted on Flickr, here.

*The massive Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, could deliver 137 tons into orbit.  There was also a Russian rocket, the Energia, that made flights in 1987 and 1988 that could lift 100 tons into space.

Here’s the lift-off of the Falcon Heavy rocket (cost: $90m). Rockets are about 85% fuel by mass. This is essentially a Falcon 9 rocket with two additional boosters strapped onto it. This was just a test flight, and there is a Tesla Roadster inside the rocket, with a dummy dressed up in a space suit (‘Spaceman’) driving it.  Right here about 5 million pounds of thrust is generated, equal to the combined thrust of some eighteen Boeing 747 aircraft.
I smiled when the live-feed camera panned over the ‘fan boys’ with their happy faces, as they cheered the lift-off. I think this is at the launch center in Cape Canaveral in Florida. P.S. Where are all the fan-girls? We need you, too, to become engineers.

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