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Falcon Heavy's launch ushers in an era of cheaper, bolder space flight

08 February 2018

It's uncertain where exactly the Tesla Roadster, and its Starman mannequin, will more precisely end up.

Elon Musk did the inconceivable.

Funded by Bezos's e-commerce fortune, Blue Origin plans to use the New Shepard to test fly astronauts this year, and if everything goes according to plan, they could send willing customers to space in 2019.

It is moving at a speed of 2312 miles per hour (3720 km).

The Falcon Heavy's three boosters and 27 engines give it more power than double of the second closest competitor. The Falcon Heavy is price-listed at $90 million, a bargain in the business of rockets.

Starman and his Roadster ended up taking their unprecedented drive because Musk wanted something more exciting than the concrete blocks typically used as mass simulators strapped to SpaceX's Falcon Heavy on the big rocket's first test flight.

The Falcon Heavy consists of three Falcon 9s, which is now the rocket SpaceX uses to transport supplies from Earth to the International Space Station.

"We want a new space race", he said.

This was a mere formality to show off the capabilities of the rocket - which is capable of lifting 54 metric tons (119,000 lb) into space.

The flyby would not be particularly close, since the Falcon Heavy's upper stage is not created to perform any further orbital corrections.

"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.

This happened at around 9.45 EST (2.45 am GMT).

Or, at least, let's hope it will, as Musk just announced the Roadster will overshoot Mars' orbit and is now going towards the asteroid belt, which also means its trajectory will have to be recalculated. The Roadster, which is attached to the rocket's upper stage, will now be subjected to intense radiation in the Van Allen belt zone beyond Earth's atmosphere before being launched into an elliptical orbit of Mars.

At one point, Musk said the company would be producing 20,000 Model 3 vehicles per month by December 2017, but it ended up delivering just over 1,500 Model 3 vehicles during the entire fourth quarter.

The mammoth vehicle - the most powerful since the shuttle system - lifted clear of its pad without incident to soar high over the Atlantic Ocean. It's now headed towards an asteroid belt.

Falcon Heavy's launch ushers in an era of cheaper, bolder space flight