Science

Elon Musk's SpaceX Successfully Launches World's Most Powerful Rocket 'Falcon Heavy'

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 1
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| February 7 , 2018 , 09:07 IST

Elon Musk founded private American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, on Tuesday successfully launched the world's most powerful rocket 'Falcon Heavy', powered by 27 engines in 3 boosters that are all expected to be reusable. While the two side boosters landed on concrete, the central part would land in the ocean. 

The Falcon Heavy, launched from Florida's Space Coast, tore through the sky with the force of 18,747 jetliners, in the first time a privately financed rocket has ever attempted to boost out of the Earth's orbit.

Along with the Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk sent up his own cherry red Tesla Roadster with a mannequin clad in a spacesuit fitted into the driver's seat as a promotional stunt.

The launch of the Falcon Heavy marks a "revival of the exploring spirit," John Logsdon, a space historian said, as space missions have been limited to the low-Earth orbit since NASA ended the space shuttle program in 2011.

If the Falcon Heavy can be flown reliably, it can prove useful to the US Pentagon for launching national security satellites and for human exploration goals of NASA.

The two side boosters have already landed safely: 

According to SpaceX, the Falcon Heavy rocket is capable of hauling more mass than any existing rocket, with an ability to carry 140,000 pounds (63,502 kg) to low Earth orbit and around 40,000 pounds (18,143 kg) to Mars. Although the Apollo-era rockets were more powerful than the Falcon Heavy, they are no longer in use.

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Apart from SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, other private aerospace firms are also planning massive rockets. United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin is developing its Vulcan rocket, while Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos's space company Blue Origin is building a rocket named New Glenn, after former astronaut John Glenn.

However, some industry officials have expressed concerns on how big the market is for rockets such as the Falcon Heavy. Initially, SpaceX had been planning to fly tourists on board the Falcon Heavy this year itself, but on Monday Musk clarified that the Falcon Heavy would not be flying humans.