Sci-tech

Elon Musk's SpaceX is Increasing Its Coolest Tech by 50 Percent

Elon Musk's SpaceX is Increasing Its Coolest Tech by 50 Percent

During the launch of Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk's personal cherry colored Tesla roadster was in headlines nearly everywhere, but this historic rocket also carried another payload within it nearly nobody knew about.

That core booster, which was expected to land offshore on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You", crashed when two of three engines did not fire during a final landing burn, Musk told reporters after the launch. "After block 5 we won't be doing any more with Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy, and with Dragon probably after Dragon Two", Musk said. Despite being a demo mission meant to show that the rocket can fire its engines and reach orbit, the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket has generated quite a bit of publicity for SpaceX. That honor goes to the two oceangoing drone ships on which spent rockets come in to land, and Musk revealed Monday that a third is on the way.

While Musk wasn't a big part of the video SpaceX was streaming during the Falcon Heavy launch, he obviously was a big part of the mission.

After the Falcon Heavy launch, from Kennedy Space Center, the rocket's the rocket's center core missed the Of Course I Still Love You ship by about 300 feet, but the force created by its 300 miles per hour water impact damaged the ship's two engines.

"A Shortfall of Gravitas" is under construction now and will join "Of Course I Still Love You" in Florida to support offshore landings of Falcon Heavy side boosters, Musk wrote.

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The fix, he said, was "pretty obvious". This ship will be called "A Shortfall of Gravitas". The latter is based at Port Canaveral and returns Falcon 9 boosters to facilities near the port for post-launch checkouts. At the time, Musk thought that the Falcon Heavy would launch in 2013, but the project promptly entered years of development hell. All three drones are named after spacecraft featured in Scottish author Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, notes the report.

This payload means that Falcon Heavy offers increased possibilities for SpaceX, including the launch of bigger satellites for United States intelligence and military, launching large batches of satellites (i.e.to help deliver global broadband), sending bigger robots to Mars or the outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn and their moons, and the transportation and launch of huge telescopes.

As National Geographic reported from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, the Falcon Heavy launch is a milestone for private companies' journey into space.

The 1.37 minute clip not only captures a picture-perfect launch of the world's most powerful rocket, but also the recovery of two side boosters in a simultaneous, controlled landing. Hispasat 30W-6, a commercial communications satellite, will be boosted to a geostationary transfer orbit.


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