On Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 3:45 PM ET, the Falcon Heavy flew off into space. There was no specific destination for this rocket since it was a test launch, but because of the payload it was carrying, it is definitely going to the be remembered through history.
The Falcon Heavy is “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two” according to SpaceX, although it is not the most powerful operational rocket in the world. So far, the only rocket for space missions to top the power the Falcon Heavy is NASA's Saturn V. Saturn V was in charge of taking the Skylab into space, the first American space station. Also, Saturn V is the only rocket to have taken humans into space. This rocket retired after delivering Skylab into space back in 1973. Maybe somewhere in the near future another SpaceX rocket can carry on with this legacy.
When asked for information about the test payload, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, mentioned he wanted it to be “Silliest thing we can imagine!”. He surely delivered what promised. He took his own Tesla Roadster and installed it on the tip of the spaceship. After 5 minutes of flight, the cone at the tip detached revealing the red sport car with a very special driver named Starman. Although its just a mannequin, it has delivered impressive images of the Roadster cruising though space.
Watch the entire launch of Falcon Heavy test flight and the landing of the first-stage booster here.
SpaceX is trying to cut costs of space missions by reusing their hardware. The Falcon Heavy had three first-stage rocket boosters and 2 out of 3 where successfully recovered. Two of the first-stage rockets landed upright in the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The third one was supposed to land on a drone ship, but the central core could only light up one of the three engines necessary for landing. Eventually the third first-stage engine crashed in the sea only 300 feet away from the drone ship.
Spaceman and the Tesla Roadster
There where cameras showing many angles of the Roadster installed in the spacecraft. They launched a live stream of Starman and the Roadster using these cameras. The live stream went on for 4 hours and 13 minutes until the camera's batteries died. This cameras got images that almost no one could have ever imagined. One of the most relevant one, pictures Starman calmly cruising with Earth on the background. To this day, Starman still drives Roadster, and he will until it is discovered "by an alien race millions of years in the future", according to Musk.
Here you can see the live views of Starman.