SpaceX Falcon Heavy


via Flickr

Falcons launching to the sky.

On February 6, an aerospace company, SpaceX, launched yet another rocket called the Falcon Heavy. The Falcon Heavy is a rocket designed to transport heavy loads to different parts of space. It can transport up to 140,660 pounds when traveling to low earth orbit, and 58,860 pounds in the geosynchronous orbit. This is a great feat compared to the Space Shuttle, which can carry 53,790 pounds in low earth orbit, both being partially reusable.

SpaceX demonstrated the capabilities of their new rocket on February 6 by using it to transport SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s car into low earth orbit. Surprisingly, everything went smoothly on the first try except for the center core of the rocket, which fell into the ocean instead of landing back on its target. In the future, SpaceX is planning on making their rocket able to fly to the moon and Mars.

The rocket works in two stages. The first stage consists of 3 cores with 9 engines in each core, adding up to 27 engines total. At liftoff, all 3 cores take off at full thrust. After liftoff, the center core turns down and the side cores detach from the rocket, returning back to Earth to be reused in the future. When the side cores have separated, the center core resumes to full thrust. In the second stage, the center core also detaches from the rocket, leaving only the capsule containing the cargo, in this case being Musk’s car. Then, the capsule opens, placing the cargo at its destination.

The Falcon Heavy is a revolutionary rocket that could possibly change the future of space travel forever. The body of the rocket is made out of an aluminum-lithium alloy, a sturdy, lightweight metal. Add this to the fact that the Falcon Heavy is reusable, and the rocket becomes cost-effective, while still providing the quality of previous famous spacecraft. The cargo capsule can carry huge loads, such as cars, humans, and even smaller spacecraft, like the SpaceX Dragon.

The amazing rocket launch from SpaceX showed what humans are capable of creating. Just 50 years ago, a man stepped onto the moon for the first time. Now, 50 years later, private companies are sending their own rockets into space, and possibly different planets. If we can accomplish this much in just half a century, we can definitely travel to Mars in 50 more years.