UPDATE: Musk's statement may not be accurate however. "The mission seemed to have gone as well as possible".
A day after launching one of its cars into space, Tesla has moved to ease concerns on earth over production delays for its Model 3, the key to future growth for the star electric carmaker.
The vehicle is carrying a plaque with the names of 6,000 SpaceX employees, in addition to transporting a data storage device containing Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation science fiction trilogy. Or, will the auto and the mannequin driver, named "Starman", make it to Mars orbit? The average for the rocket is just one-third of the total used by predecessors.
SpaceX does not, however, plan to certify the Falcon Heavy to fly humans. The weather forecast issued on Sunday suggests that the weather shall be mostly favorable during the launch scheduled on Tuesday.
But what will happen to the Tesla CEO's cherished Roadster? The rocket shall drop off this shipment to the hyperbolic orbit. "And it's nearly like a road trip."A few months ago, Musk announced that he was planning to send two big equipment-carrying spacecraft to Mars in 2022, to be followed by one carrying astronauts in 2024". Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for such extravagances as self-landing rocket boosters when homelessness and hunger still haven't been eliminated? And SpaceX, for a limited time, was able to provide a live video feed of the Tesla floating through space. The fact that the Falcon Heavy was strong enough to allow for the extra weight of a auto, simply for the fun of it, is further demonstration of the rocket's power.
The new setup comprises of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores totalling to 27 Merlin engines, of which, Musk believes, up to a dozen could fail and the rocket would still reach orbit. Elon's rockets, and I keep using his name because the success of securing investment in the projects is significantly due to the cult of personality surrounding him, are capable of landing automatically back on Earth instead of burning up in the atmosphere.
A testament to the power of this first-ever launch of the Falcon Heavy, Lt Col Stuker noted, "It was the first time we heard the rumble of the rocket over the sound of the rotor blades".
Tesla operates a design center in Hawthorne and is based in Palo Alto.