Falcon Heavy: Elon Musk's giant SpaceX rocket makes triumphant launch

asianobserve

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The world’s most powerful new space rocket blasted into the heavens above Florida’s east coast on Tuesday afternoon on a trailblazing deep-space mission that Elon Musk, founder of the private aerospace company SpaceX, believes could spell “game over” for his commercial spaceflight rivals.

The Falcon Heavy, which will provide the United States a heavy-lift capability in space not seen since the Saturn V rockets of the Apollo era, made a flawless ascent through clear blue skies, with at least two of its three reusable boosters returning safely to earth.

The spectacular, flame-heavy launch was watched by an estimated half-million spectators who packed the beaches and other key vantage points around Florida’s space coast for the biggest fireworks show since the retirement of Nasa’s space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Falcon’s upper stage and test payload, the whimsical touch of Musk’s $100,000 cherry red Tesla Roadster sports car, and a dummy in its driver’s seat called Starman rocking to David Bowie’s Life on Mars, continued, zapping through the Van Allen Belt.

Pictures of the car heading into space with the Earth below gave the triumphant launch a surreal quality. From there, it will journey on through a six-month, 400m-kilometre trip to a solar orbit, for more than a billion years.

Musk hopes the Falcon Heavy will help with interplanetary exploration and assist the mission of Nasa, the American space agency, as it works towards a return to the moon for the first time since 1972, and eventually landing humans on Mars before the middle of the century.

“Falcon Heavy heading to space on our test flight, building on the history of Saturn V/Apollo and returning launchpad 39A to interplanetary missions,” a SpaceX announcer said as the rocket lifted off, referring to the historic launchpad at the Kennedy SpaceCentre from which the first manned moon mission took flight in July 1969.

Musk, the billionaire founder and lead designer of SpaceX, who first announced plans for a heavy-lift rocket in 2011 and constructed the Falcon Heavy by strapping together three boosters from the company’s smaller but proven Falcon 9 cargo rockets, had downplayed expectations of a successful launch.

On Monday, he had estimated Falcon’s chances at about 50-50, and said he feared a launchpad-destroying explosion similar to the Falcon 9 fireball that created extensive damage in September 2016.

But in the same conference call with reporters, Musk said that a problem-free launch of Falcon Heavy would be a game-changer for SpaceX and other commercial spaceflight companies vying for contracts from Nasa, the US military and private enterprise.

Recycling rockets, Musk said, keeps the cost of a Falcon heavy launch at about $90m, compared with $435m for the launch of a Delta IV Heavy operated by the United Launch Alliance. The Falcon, Musk added, also possessed almost twice the payload capacity of the Delta.

“If we are successful, it’s game over for other operators of heavy-lift rockets,” Musk said. “It’s like where one aircraft company has reusable aircraft and all the other aircraft companies had aircraft that were single use, and you’d sort of parachute out at your destination and the plane would crash land somewhere. Crazy at it sounds, that’s how the rocket business works.”



The only possible downer on the day for Musk was the rumoured loss of Falcon heavy’s third booster, the central core. An hour after the launch, SpaceX was unable to confirm that the booster had landed safely on a recovery barge in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, the two side boosters had landed successfully on land at the space centre, marking the 42nd and 43rd time SpaceX had retrieved a booster for reuse.

There had been a carnival atmosphere at the Kennedy Space Centre through the day, with Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 88, the second man to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong, as a guest of honour.

Spectators who paid $195 each for a ticket packed the bleachers at the Saturn V visitor centre and had a clear view of the launchpad across the Banana river just 3.9 miles away. Parents kept children out of school, and other families travelled great distances to witness the launch.

Cindy and Patrick Salkeld came from California to watch. “It was overwhelming, better than expected, unbelievable,” Mrs Salkeld said. “We couldn’t just see it, we could hear it and feel it vibrating the ground. It was emotional.”

Her husband declared Elon Musk to be “brilliant”.

“It’s incredible that not only did he get that rocket up there, but then he lands those two pieces right back on the ground upright, right on the circle. How on earth do you do that? It was spectacular,” he said.

Casey Dreier, director of space policy at the Planetary Society, told the Guardian that the excitement of the launch and success of the first stage of the mission would reignite interest in spaceflight.

“You see this so often with space, even with the exploratory missions to Mars and Pluto, people feel almost an antidote to the everyday world of social media we persist in, which is so inward-looking and self-referential,” he said.

“Space, particularly when you explore or do something new, it forces you literally and metaphorically to look up from your device.”

Jerry Carr, an astronaut on the final mission to Skylab in 1973 that brought the curtain down on the Saturn V era, said the launch was “a hummer”, and praised Musk for opening a new frontier in space.

“Things are going the way they should right now,” he said. “I hope SpaceX are successful and can design a spacecraft reliable enough that we can put human beings on it. Mars is the next logical step in our exploration of space.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/06/falcon-heavy-spacex-rocket-florida-launch
 

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SpaceX oddity: how Elon Musk sent a car towards Mars



It takes a beat or two for the brain to compute. The image is startling, incongruous, barmy. A car floats in space. At the wheel is a spacesuit, seatbelt on. Earth hangs behind it. The two objects don’t work together. The image jars like bad Photoshop. But it is real.

The photograph was beamed down to Earth courtesy of Elon Musk’s ego, bravado and taste for the absurd. It is human folly and genius rolled into one, a picture that sums up 2018 so far. Life on Earth feels precarious, so we look to the stars.

So how did we get here: the heavens navigated by a dummy astronaut in an electric car, with a handy note for aliens – “Made on Earth by humans” – imprinted on the circuit board?


Even Musk, engineer of the circus show, was surprised that his audacious stunt worked. “Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth,” he tweeted. His plan is for the $100,000 Tesla Roadster – with the message “Don’t panic!” stamped on the dashboard and David Bowie playing on the speakers – to cruise through high-energy radiation belts that circuit Earth towards deep space.

The most powerful rocket in operation

Its projected path will bring it close to Mars. There is a tiny chance it might crash into the planet. If it stays on course, it will instead drift through space, potentially for millions of years.

The Roadster was delivered into space by Musk and his company SpaceX’s biggest bet so far: the Falcon Heavy, now the most powerful rocket in operation and second only to the Saturn V rockets, which carried men to the moon during the Apollo era.

The Falcon launched from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, watched by hundreds of thousands of people who crowded Florida’s space coast, eyes skyward.



But even Musk wasn’t sure it would work, putting the chance of a fully successful launch at 50%. On launch day, the company delayed for over three hours, citing high winds.

Minutes before countdown, Jeff Lucas, a Nasa communications staffer and compere of the viewing party at the Saturn V Centre, was not confident. “If it goes, don’t clap,” he told the audience. “Don’t clap until you see those orange flames clearing the tower.”

In the end, the winds died down, the sky cleared and the Falcon – shrouded in steam and mist – took off to claim its place in space and history.

Moments later the side boosters separated, beginning their choreographed dance back down to Earth. At the SpaceX launch centre, Life on Mars came on the sound system.



The Roadster, still attached to the rocket’s upper stage, will spend hours zapped by radioactive rays in the Van Allen belts. After that, all being well, the upper stage boosters will fire one last time, pushing the Tesla out towards its elliptical orbit around Mars. If things don’t go to plan, it could orbit Earth, potentially indefinitely.

Controlled burns

Falcon’s success provides the United States with a heavy-lift capability in space not seen since the 60s – big enough to carry a car as its payload just for fun. SpaceX has landing used rockets via controlled burns down to a fine art, cutting the cost of space flight from the billions to the tens of millions (the Falcon Heavy launch cost $90m, while Nasa’s planned SLS rocket, a comparable system, is expected to cost about $1bn per flight).




Two of the three boosters landed safely. The third, which SpaceX had predicted was less likely to be salvaged, slammed into the Atlantic at about 300mph (483 kph).

 

asianobserve

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A more worthy payload?

Musk is not without his critics. Many wondered what the point of the expensive stunt was. Should the most powerful rocket of our age not have carried a more useful, worthy payload?

Either way, the plan worked and puts SpaceX far at the front of the commercial space race.

“If we are successful, it’s game over for other operators of heavy-lift rockets,” Musk claimed before liftoff. “It’s like where one aircraft company has reusable aircraft and all the other aircraft companies had aircraft that were single-use, and you’d sort of parachute out at your destination and the plane would crash land somewhere. Crazy at it sounds, that’s how the rocket business works.”





It is a long way from the failed launches of 2015, when mission CRS-7 mission was lost, and 2016, when a smaller Falcon 9 exploded on a launch zone at Cape Canaveral, forcing it to close for repairs for more than a year.

The Falcon Heavy’s successful launch propels the dream into a new orbit. Plans include building a new space station above the moon, carrying new telecom or spy satellites, and shuttling people to deep space destinations. Last February SpaceX said it intended to send two private citizens on a trip around the moon, possibly as soon as this year.





In the meantime, the Roadster will be ploughing its lonely course through space.

The stars look very different today.




https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/07/space-oddity-elon-musk-spacex-car-mars-falcon-heavy

 

Coalmine

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I really like their reusable technology. The way the rockets descend towards earth is pure Sci-fi. Dont know how they do it.
BTW the fast they have moved and mastered the technologies seem like these technologies were already there.
 

jadoogar

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This is all antics. Last month SpaceX failed to launch a supposedly top secret US Military satellite into orbit according to news reports.

So they send a rocket with a dead load straight up ..!?

Widely covered live by ALL TV, Radio, Print media in USA and perhaps overseas.

Didn't Morgan Stanley say a few weeks ago that Tesla should buy SpaceX ?

The space launch market is not large or profitable, has established and upcoming competitors (Arianespace, Rus, ISRO, Japanese entities, others). I think that SpaceX does not have much hope of being very profitable.

Chances are that SpaceX investors are the Scum who will make out like bandits on the purchase of SpaceX by Tesla at some obscene Wall Street manufactured valuation. There is precedent for that in Tesla's bailout of Solarcity for $7.5 billion.

Further Musk was recently given some obscene compensation package of 10, 20, 30 ??? billion dollars. But to collect he does not have to move the share price of tesla. Rather he has to move the market cap - this can be done by share price appreciation. It can also be done by shareholder dilution with much less share price appreciation.

I have never before heard of such a manipulative and obscenely large compensation package where you can screw existing shareholders to kingdom come and still get paid.

Musk still makes out. Also make out are investors in companies acquired by tesla. SpaceX ?????????????????
 
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asianobserve

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This is all antics. Last month SpaceX failed to launch a supposedly top secret US Military satellite into orbit according to news reports.

So they send a rocket with a dead load straight up ..!?

Widely covered live by ALL TV, Radio, Print media in USA and perhaps overseas.

Didn't Morgan Stanley say a few weeks ago that Tesla should buy SpaceX ?

The space launch market is not large or profitable, has established and upcoming competitors (Arianespace, Rus, ISRO, Japanese entities, others). I think that SpaceX does not have much hope of being very profitable.

Chances are that SpaceX investors are the Scum who will make out like bandits on the purchase of SpaceX by Tesla at some obscene Wall Street manufactured valuation. There is precedent for that in Tesla's bailout of Solarcity for $7.5 billion.

Further Musk was recently given some obscene compensation package of 10, 20, 30 ??? billion dollars. But to collect he does not have to move the share price of tesla. Rather he has to move the market cap - this can be done by share price appreciation. It can also be done by shareholder dilution with much less share price appreciation.

I have never before heard of such a manipulative and obscenely large compensation package where you can screw existing shareholders to kingdom come and still get paid.

Musk still makes out. Also make out are investors in companies acquired by tesla. SpaceX ?????????????????
Man, you don't have a sense of humor!

Anyway, profitable or not Space X is upping the game in space! It's low cost and innovative approach is forcing established space players to improve their own systems both technologically and cost-wise. That's excellent if you ask me.
 
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asianobserve

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How Elon Musk Beat Russia's Space Program



Nowhere did Tuesday's launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket echo as powerfully as in Russia. The private U.S. company continues to produce technical feats on which the Russian space industry has given up: First the consistent reuse of rockets, and now the successful launch of a rocket with as many as 27 engines.

The Soviet Union tried something similar in the 1960s and early 1970s. Sergei Korolev, the rocket designer who launched the first satellite and the first man into space, began the development of what came to be known as the N-1, a 30-engine superheavy rocket capable of taking a 75-ton space station to orbit and perhaps to the Moon, Mars and Venus. Finished after Korolev's death in 1966, the N-1 was test-launched four times. Each of the launches failed, largely because of the difficulty of running so many engines at the same time.

Now SpaceX has pulled off a similar task, and even though it's not clear yet who will contract for the Falcon Heavy's services, SpaceX founder Elon Musk now has the most capable missile in the world: It can deliver up to 64 tons into orbit. Russia's plans to build such a rocket, capable of flying to the Moon or to Mars, aren't even completeyet, and certainly not fully funded, though Igor Komarov, head of Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, has promised a first launch in 2028. Even China is likely to have a superheavy launch vehicle before Russia. But it's the success of upstart Musk that smarts. Roskosmos has the full power of the state behind it, after all. And yet here's this boyish-looking showman launching his roadster into space, David Bowie blasting from the car's speakers and "Don't Panic" -- a quote from Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" -- lit up on the central console.

The corniness didn't make it less bitter. Russians laugh when it hurts and there were plenty of Russian
memes that gamely acknowledged defeat by suggesting what Russia could have launched into space in place of a Tesla Roadster:

But the undertone is serious. Vitaly Egorov, spokesman for Dauria Aerospace, a private Russian satellite manufacturer that works with Roskosmos, posted bitterly on Facebook:

In fact, Musk hasn't done anything fantastical. Korolev has done this kind of thing, and so did [rocket engine designer Valentin] Glushko. Soviets did it, and Russians can do it too. But now we're onlookers and we see it as the stuff of fantasy. Many people have asked me: "Could we replicate the success of SpaceX?" Technically, we can. In the final accounting, landing a stage or making a superheavy rocket is a mathematical task, and we aren't out of mathematicians. What we are out of is dreamers. To know how to fly and where to fly, we need to know why we're flying.

Musk, with his crude salesmanship and nerdish cultural references, has a dream, described in a white paper he published last year: To colonize Mars. Musk admitted in the white paper that was his only motivation for getting rich.

Russia doesn't really have a dreamer to match. It has Dmitri Rogozin, the nationalist deputy prime minister in charge of the defense and aerospace industry, who publicly squabbled with the Roskosmos management after the latest launch failure in November. Roskosmos officials hired a private Gulfstream jet to fly to the launch from a new pad in Russia's Far East, but the Soyuz rocket, carrying 18 satellites, burned up in the atmosphere. Rogozin then accused Roskosmos of programming the Fregat upper stage for a launch from a different pad. "One tailor sews the pocket, another the lapel, but the suit doesn't work as a whole," Rogozin said. Roskosmos denied making the error. But, after a series of criminal investigations in the Russian aerospace industry -- with cases including the improper use of cheap components in building rockets -- not even the silliest explanations are out of the question.

Ever since the Soviet Union's collapse, the Russian space program has been run pragmatically for cash. Using time-tested technology, Russia seized leadership in the commercial launch market. But SpaceX's persistence and ingenuity, and its success in bringing down costs by reusing rockets, made it the likely market leader last year and possibly even profitable. The Falcon 9 was certainly the most successfully launched rocket in the world.

Roskosmos has acknowledged the SpaceX threat, which it spent years pooh-poohing, and is working to reduce launch costs by 20 percent and reuse rocket components. But Musk's company is ahead of the game for now, and it won't be easy to catch.

Many Russians who are jealous of Musk's success point out that he hasn't gotten where he is without government support -- technical assistance from NASA as well as billions in government subsidies. But the rest of the U.S. aerospace industry gets lots of government money, too, and so do European, Chinese, Japanese and Indian space programs. Egorov probably put his finger on the difference. The private passion of a socially clumsy, irritating, science fiction-reading, electric roadster-driving geek has done more to establish SpaceX's leadership than any state support could have done. The dream behind the engineering and the enterprise may not look as serious as the state considerations of Rogozin and Komarov -- but it sure helps propel some heavy objects into space.


https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-07/how-elon-musk-beat-russia-s-space-program


 

asianobserve

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SpaceX Stuns the World



"It seems surreal to me," said Elon Musk, proprietor of SpaceX, and for once he was understating things.


On Tuesday, his company blasted a 230-foot rocket into orbit, returned its two side boosters to Earth for a flawlessly synchronized landing, and -- with exquisite nerd flair -- propelled Musk's own Tesla Roadster toward deep space, where it's expected to orbit the sun for hundreds of millions of years.

Surreal, yes. But it was also a triumph of private enterprise and a milestone in American spacefaring. Its true significance, in fact, may not be apparent for decades.



Known as the Falcon Heavy, the new projectile has 27 engines generating 5 million pounds of thrust, making it the most powerful rocket ever built by a private company.

It'll soon face competition. Musk's rival space-billionaire, Jeff Bezos, is also building a new heavy-lift rocket. So is United Launch Alliance, an aerospace joint venture. SpaceX is already at work on its next generation, the BFR, which it expects will one day transport people to Mars. The U.S. government, incongruously, is building its own behemoth, the Space Launch System, at a cost of some $23 billion and counting.

Skeptics accurately note that this rivalry is heating up just as commercial demand for such firepower is dwindling. Satellites are getting smaller and lighter, while improvements in engine technology mean that smaller rockets -- such as SpaceX's Falcon 9 -- can handle bigger payloads. Customers may be hard to come by for the Falcon Heavy.

This misses the bigger picture, however. Competition in the space business -- worth some $323 billion annually -- is driving down costs and stimulating both innovation and demand. By mastering reusable rocketry, SpaceX has substantially reduced the expense of getting stuff into orbit, to the benefit of everything from navigation systems to data transmission. At $90 million per launch, the Falcon Heavy will be able to carry twice the payload of its nearest competitor for about one-fifth the cost.

In the near term, this should enable some cheaper military launches, and might also allow NASA to conduct more frequent research missions into deep space. Conceivably, the Falcon Heavy could even transport people to the moon, at a fraction of the expected cost of an SLS launch.

But longer-term, and more intriguingly, the new rocket could open up novel commercial possibilities. Companies are already testing gear for asteroid mining, space tourism, moon expeditions and much else, spurred on in no small part by SpaceX's earlier achievements. Add cheap, reliable heavy-lift rockets to the equation and the opportunities only expand. A few decades from now, more far-out stuff -- space-based energy production, say -- may no longer be science fiction.

Even if the Falcon Heavy becomes obsolete, in other words, it will represent an important landmark in the grand American space experiment. Once again, SpaceX has tried something unreasonable -- surreal, even -- and once again, it has prevailed.



https://www.bloomberg.com/view/arti...018-02-05/trump-has-already-won-the-memo-wars
 

Akshay_Fenix

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What a waste of money and resources. However since its a private company, investors from all around the world are gonna throw their money at this.
Mindless gimmick just to make some few pennies.
 

asianobserve

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What a waste of money and resources. However since its a private company, investors from all around the world are gonna throw their money at this.
Mindless gimmick just to make some few pennies.

It was not a waste of resources since that was a required flight testing. That was in fact a certification flight for the Falcon Heavy not a mindless gimmick. The roadster was placed there since no client wanted to risk sending their payload on a rocket flight that even Musk himself has declared is uncertain of success (50/50%). So he put instead his own roadster on top instead of concrete or other useless payload.
 

asianobserve

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Sending a Tesla into space wasn’t such a dumb idea



Maybe it’s my instinctive distrust of bored billionaires treating the world as their playground, but I’m always dubious about Elon Musk’s various moonshot projects. He seems to be enjoying it all a little too much. Latest among his outlandish ideas was the concept of sending a Tesla out into space with yesterday’s historic Falcon Heavy rocket launch. I thought it was just another indulgence of a febrile mind, but then I saw the Earth fly-by videos and suddenly it all made sense.

Elon Musk, the master salesman of our times, has found the perfect implement for making science sexy and evocative to everyone: a Tesla Roadster. Without a human element, even the fiery eruptions of a rocket launch can start to feel repetitive, especially in our present age of instant access to the spectacular and otherworldly. So Musk is saying, how about a glossy red electric supercar to reignite imaginations?

And not just that, the entire thing was streamed live in a high-quality 1080p YouTube feed, from multiple angles, and with fun touches like a “Made on Earth by Humans” printed on a circuitboard and a “Don’t Panic” message on the dashboard. The spacesuit-wearing dummy with its left arm nonchalantly draped over the car door with David Bowie blasting on the speakers was the perfect finishing touch. This is science served with a side of badass.

For Musk, the entire adventure is the perfect brand symbiosis: his SpaceX company gets a shiny attention grabber to help promote its spacefaring work, and his Tesla car company gets to claim that it has the fastest car in space. The bad jokes about the Roadster’s ludicrous speed out there are already pouring in, plus this pomp is helping divert attention from Tesla’s recent Model 3 production delays. It’s the greatest publicity stunt we’ve seen in a long time.

Like Steve Jobs pulling the original MacBook Air out of a manila envelope back in 2008, the Tesla onboard the Falcon Heavy rocket was not strictly necessary to make the event impressive. But the car’s presence and expert presentation is what elevated that event, it’s what many of us will remember most vividly, and its continuing joyride through space will keep reminding us of the feat. On any other day, the choreographed twin rocket landing upon return from the successful Falcon Heavy launch would have been the main event. But then the car came up and everyone was floored.

What we witnessed yesterday was the internet generation’s approximation of the moon landing, and that Roadster might well remain the totemic symbol of the achievement.

https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2018/2/7/16984284/tesla-space-falcon-heavy-launch-elon-musk


 

asianobserve

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So how does $ 90million launch cost compare with ISRO?
Just for laughs :)

ISRO's PSLV-C37 rocket:
Payload to LEO - 1,378 kgms
Launch cost - $15M
Launch cost per kilogram - $10,900

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket:
Payload to LEO - 63,800 kgms
Launch cost - $90M
Launch cost per kilogram - $1,410
 

Tanmay

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ISRO's PSLV-C37 rocket:
Payload to LEO - 1,378 kgms
Launch cost - $15M
Launch cost per kilogram - $10,900

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket:
Payload to LEO - 63,800 kgms
Launch cost - $90M
Launch cost per kilogram - $1,410
Thats some pretty amazing engineering at work. Considering the you have one of the best visionaries leading the best brains at work.
If I am not wrong NASA does use Russian engines for its heavy lifting
 

asianobserve

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Thats some pretty amazing engineering at work. Considering the you have one of the best visionaries leading the best brains at work.
If I am not wrong NASA does use Russian engines for its heavy lifting

It's not NASA that is using RD180 engines, it's a private American company called ULA or United Launch Alliance (which operated as a monopoly before SpaceX in NASA and US military space launch contracts) . RD180 is used in Atlas rockets.

But SpaceX rockets are way more advanced and cheaper than ULA.
 

asianobserve

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"Starman" and Tesla heading for deep space



Now in an elliptical orbit around the sun, the Tesla Roadster launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday during the powerful booster's maiden flight was expected to pass beyond the moon's orbit overnight Wednesday and reach the orbit of Mars in July as it puts Earth in its rear view mirror, analysts said. While SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk has said he likes to imagine the Tesla remaining in orbit for hundreds of millions of years or more, Jupiter's orbit is likely to fling it back to the solar system long before then.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a noted space analyst, says two forces acting on the car will limit its lifetime.

One is Jupiter. The giant planet's gravity perturbs bodies in the asteroid belt and, over time, will have an effect on the Tesla's trajectory. The other effect is a subtle acceleration produced by tiny temperature-related forces over extremely long periods that also would act to change the orbit.

"It's tiny, but over timescales of millions of years it's enough to shrink the orbit and make the thing fall into the sun," McDowell said. "So it's a race between does that happen before some Jupiter perturbation ejects it from the system.

"On timescales of centuries, it's going to be pretty much in the orbit it's in now. On timescales of thousands of years, it's going to be in a not-horribly-different orbit, but Jupiter will mess it around some. And then on timescales of millions of years, it won't be there anymore."

Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer with Queen's University in Belfast who studies minor bodies, asteroids and comets, tweeted that his initial calculations show the "chance of hitting a planet is almost zero. Most near-Earth asteroids end by solar vaporization or ejection from the solar system by Jupiter. Near Earth Cars should be the same."

"I've done a quick orbital integration for the next 10,000 years assuming a reasonable orbit," he said in an earlier tweet. "Basically the Tesla (Roadster) is OK, but the orbit slowly elongates by gravitational perturbations and starts getting kicked about by Jupiter."

Meanwhile, Musk released a spectacular final photo earlier Wednesday from a camera on the rocket's second stage showing the Tesla and its space-suited driver "Starman" outbound with an increasingly distant crescent Earth in the background.

So where, exactly, is Starman heading?

About six hours after launch, the Falcon Heavy's upper stage engine ignited for a third time, boosting the Tesla's velocity high enough to carry it out of Earth's gravitational reach.

Confirming the rocket firing, SpaceX released initial data indicating the Roadster was headed for an elliptical orbit around the sun with a high point, or aphelion, out in the asteroid belt, well beyond the orbit of Mars.

But experienced satellite analysts said the numbers provided by SpaceX didn't quite add up and on Wednesday, the company provided an update that clarified the trajectory.

McDowell said the new data show the Tesla is, in fact, in a solar orbit with a high point just beyond Mars, as initially predicted by SpaceX, and not on a long drive deep into the asteroid belt.

The data show that when the Tesla finally climbs out of the Earth-moon gravity well, its velocity -- reflected in a number known as C3 -- will be 12 kilometers squared per second squared, which translates into a speed of about 3.5 kilometers per second, or 6,700 mph faster than Earth's velocity as they both orbit the sun.

That excess velocity, provided by the upper stage's final rocket firing, is what will enable the Tesla to leave Earth's gravitational clutches and move out into the solar system, a point the Roadster will reach Sunday.

It will pass within about 69 million miles of Mars on June 8 and cross the red planet's orbit in July before reaching its farthest distance from the sun -- about 158 million miles -- on Nov. 19.

After that, the Roadster and Starman will fall back toward the inner solar system, picking up speed as they near the low point of the orbit, or perihelion, on Sept. 1, 2019. Perihelion in this case roughly matches the distance of Earth's orbit from the sun, the Tesla's starting point. The Roadster then will head back out along the same path, traveling a now-familiar route over and over again for the foreseeable future.



https://www.cbsnews.com/news/starman-tesla-roadster-orbit-spacex-falcon-heavy/
 

Bahamut

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This is all antics. Last month SpaceX failed to launch a supposedly top secret US Military satellite into orbit according to news reports.

So they send a rocket with a dead load straight up ..!?

Widely covered live by ALL TV, Radio, Print media in USA and perhaps overseas.

Didn't Morgan Stanley say a few weeks ago that Tesla should buy SpaceX ?

The space launch market is not large or profitable, has established and upcoming competitors (Arianespace, Rus, ISRO, Japanese entities, others). I think that SpaceX does not have much hope of being very profitable.

Chances are that SpaceX investors are the Scum who will make out like bandits on the purchase of SpaceX by Tesla at some obscene Wall Street manufactured valuation. There is precedent for that in Tesla's bailout of Solarcity for $7.5 billion.

Further Musk was recently given some obscene compensation package of 10, 20, 30 ??? billion dollars. But to collect he does not have to move the share price of tesla. Rather he has to move the market cap - this can be done by share price appreciation. It can also be done by shareholder dilution with much less share price appreciation.

I have never before heard of such a manipulative and obscenely large compensation package where you can screw existing shareholders to kingdom come and still get paid.

Musk still makes out. Also make out are investors in companies acquired by tesla. SpaceX ?????????????????
What Musk is doing us nothing new and is know to failure in the future like the space shuttle. Due to the extreme conditions and fatigue, there will be structural problems.
 

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