Space: The final frontier. Since NASA orchestrated the first lunar landing in the 1960s, humankind has been fascinated with exploring the stars. And now, humanity is one step closer to that dream. Yesterday, February 6th, all eyes were on the sky above Cape Canaveral, Florida, where Elon Musk’s company SpaceX launched its latest rocket, the Falcon Heavy.
The Falcon Heavy is the second most powerful rocket in history, bested only by the Saturn V — aka the rocket used to put man on the moon. But Musk was reportedly uncertain that the launch would be successful.
In the end, the Falcon Heavy’s launch was a stunning success. Not only did the SpaceX rocket make it into orbit, but the company also managed to land two of the rocket’s boosters in an upright position at Kennedy Space Center’s landing pad. Unfortunately, the third booster, which was supposed to land on a SpaceX drone ship in the ocean, exploded and failed to return to Earth. Even so, this is the first time a rocket’s boosters have been successfully recovered, and that means the Falcon Heavy can be reused for multiple launches.
And the rocket was not the only vehicle sent into orbit yesterday. A Tesla roadster was loaded aboard the rocket, complete with a “Don’t Panic” license plate. Although the rocket carrying the car was supposed to enter an orbit around Mars, the engines were so powerful that it overshot its course, reaching the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Musk posted photos of the car drifting through space, playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on a loop.
SpaceX is the first non-government company to execute an effective rocket launch. The company has been launching its Falcon 9 rocket since 2012, using the aircraft to bring cargo to the International Space Station. It has also used the Falcon 9 to release breathtaking photos of Earth from space.
Musk’s achievements in spaceflight have shattered preconceived notions that only government agencies can reach for the stars. We can’t wait to see how SpaceX will continue to revolutionize space travel.