Science and Technology Dept praises Elon Musk for successful rocket launch

Musk was anxious that the experimental 23-story rocket might explode with theforce of 4 million pounds' worth of TNT.

Elon Musk is founder of the private aerospace company SpaceX, which - on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - successfully launched the world's most powerful new space rocket, the Falcon Heavy.

"It seems surreal to me", said Musk, 46, during a post-launch press conference.

Viewers were left with video images beamed from space of Musk's red Roadster circling the blue planet after the protective covering had dropped away and exposed the auto. "If we're successful in this, it is game over for all other heavy-lift rockets". The Falcon Heavy is price-listed at $90 million, a bargain in the business of rockets.

The launch in itself was a test for SpaceX's oversized rocket, as well as for the landing capabilities of the boosters after separation.

That said, Tesla made $3.3 billion in revenue, largely thanks to the Model 3, while future customers spent tens of millions just to join the queues for the Tesla Semi and Roadster models that Musk showed in November. You sort of parachute out to your destination, and the plane would crash-land somewhere. At a press conference Monday, Musk said three cameras mounted to the auto should provide "epic views", assuming the launch goes well.

The Roadster is in an even more elongated orbit now that stretches from Earth on one end, all the way to the neighbourhood of Ceres on the other.

"We got the footage", he said. "After that it's just going to be out there in deep space for maybe millions, maybe billions of years, who knows?"

Then the focus shifted back to the upper stage and its attempted burn to carry it toward Mars.

Musk said concrete or steel blocks would have been "extremely boring".

With the successful launch, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket flying today.

But a landmark Falcon 9 launch looms as it conducts a test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, reportedly set for August.

"The mission went as well as one could have hoped", an ecstatic Musk told reporters after the launch, calling it "probably the most exciting thing I have seen literally ever".

Falcon Heavy is big, he said, but SpaceX needs a rocket "way bigger than that".

Originally, it was planned for the sports auto to get into an orbit that will take it out to about the same distance from the sun as Mars' orbit.

That's what it took to launch this cherry-red convertible into space on Tuesday.

  • Carolyn Briggs