SpaceX ready to launch the Falcon Heavy with Tesla onboard
UPDATE: Watch the Falcon Heavy Launch LIVE!
The Falcon Heavy is set to launch on Tuesday (6th of February 2018) and will be the worlds most powerful rocket since the Saturn V that was first launched in 1967.
All systems remain green for launch at 1:30pm EST tomorrow
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 5, 2018
SpaceX’s Elon Musk chose a special payload for the launch; his cherry-red Tesla roadster, at the wheel of which he installed a manikin dressed in a space suit developed by the company. The wealthy inventor posted a picture on Instagram on Monday showing the electric car nose up to the sky with the fake astronaut at the controls.
Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent. – Elon Musk
Musk has chosen far space as a destination for this first flight, at a distance roughly equivalent to that of Mars in relation to the sun, but not too close to the red planet, so there’s no chance of contaminating it. Previously there were some raised concerns about planetary protection when Musk initially said he wanted to send the car to Mars orbit.
The Falcon Heavy is made up of three Falcon 9 assembled rockets and will be powered by 27 Merlin engines. Together, these engines “generate more than 5 million pounds (2500 tonnes) of take-off thrust, or the equivalent of 18 Boeing 747s,” says SpaceX. The Rocket is 70 meters high and 12 meters wide.
SpaceX claims that the Falcon Heavy can launch twice as much payload as the most powerful existing rocket in operation, the Delta IV Heavy at one-third the price. According to United Launch Alliance, which operates the Delta IV, the cost of a launch is $350 million.