There is now a Tesla Roadster floating in the vacuum of space. Presumably, the roadster and the pilot Starman are still aimlessly blasting David Bowie into the abyss. Not that anyone would be able to hear it, but the point would still be made. It’s fitting, rock on Starman.
For all the publicity that the launch of the Falcon Heavy and the Tesla Roadster garnered it’s easy to get distracted by it and not focus on the really impressive things that SpaceX did with this test.
So what did Elon Musk and Space X achieve when it launched the Falcon Heavy and the Roadster? What’s the next step for them as a company? What are the implications of privatized space travel? And, what does it mean to Moonglow’s favorite celestial body? (The Moon)
A little bit ago we shared a post about the possibilities of vacationing on the moon in the next few years. Space X and several of its competitors were the focal point in this discussion. (Yes, SpaceX actually has competitor companies.) But so far, Space X is the first company to take significant steps towards their goals, and it’s very exciting to watch that forward momentum carry them further than a lot of us thought we’d get this early in the 21st century.
What is the Falcon Heavy?
The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket out in the world right now. It’s the second most powerful rocket in history. The actual first most powerful rocket is the Saturn V, which took the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 space missions. While that one still has the title of the most powerful rocket in history, it’s no longer active. The Saturn V was retired in the 1970s, which hands the current title over to the Falcon Heavy.
Now that there’s been a nearly perfect success with the Falcon Heavy’s dummy payload (the Tesla Roadster and Starman) Space X is ready to get working on sending the actual cargo on their missions.
The actual cargo will very likely not be cars, but more accurately be things like satellites, supplies, astronauts and tourists.
What made the launch a near perfect success?
You’d think with the Tesla Roadster and Starman still cruising through the universe that it was an absolute perfect success right? Well, it was a perfect launch, but the rocket engine’s landing back on Earth was only about…67% effective.
2 out of the 3 rocket engines were safely guided back to Earth and landed on their designated landing pads on the ground. The third however, was intended to land on a landing pad in the ocean. That is the 1 that failed, it missed the pad by about 30 feet and even though the feed cut out, they have confirmed that it crashed.
What the success of the Falcon Heavy rocket means
The Falcon Heavy wasn’t just the most powerful, it was also made out of cheaper and lighter materials. Which opens up all kinds of new avenues for space travel that will benefit both government funded agencies in every country as well as the private sector.
The materials that the Falcon Heavy used were a lot lighter, and ultimately cheaper, than the materials that were used in the previous rocket experiments. The fact that it was so much of a success all but promises that these materials will be the jumping off point for the next rockets, because the cheaper they are to produce the cheaper it will eventually be to secure commercial flights…or send supplies and research teams and other just as important things to the moon and outer reaches of space.
Space isn’t that far away now, and we’re getting closer and closer to being residents of the stars any day now.
The best vacation spots on the moon?
In the not too distant future, vacations on the moon are becoming a very achievable life-dream. So, where’s the best place to go for a vacation on the moon?
If you believe the conspiracy theorists, going to the far side of the moon has secret entrances for soviet or alien bases, which can make the far side of the moon a good plus. Or you can hang out with the man on the moon and get a great view of Earth from the near side of the moon.
It’s also important to consider what phase of the moon it is when you’re going to be going up there. Because the way the moon travels around the Earth, a day on the moon lasts 28 Earth days. Which means night is about 14 days. When the time comes, that will definitely play a big factor in your decision on where you’re going to stay during your vacation on the moon.
While we’re still decades away from a tropical vacation on the moon, if we ever get to that point, the idea is so enticing and exciting that it’s been capturing the imaginations and delight of humans and science fiction creators for so long that it’s hard to keep from jumping the gun on it.
Who knows though? Maybe within the next decade you’ll be purchasing your own Moonglow as a souvenir to mark your stay on the actual moon!