Since its acquisition of Solar City, the company has also been busy fulfilling solar power and battery projects, most notably in Australia. The company's shares jumped 3 percent to close at $345 Wednesday after SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket with Musk's cherry red Roadster as its cargo. David Bowie's "Life on Mars" was playing in the background, obviously. Perhaps the sight seen in Arizona, could have been one of the Falcon Heavy's periods of staging. Efforts will now be focused on developing the SpaceX BFR (Big Falcon Rocket), which will be used to transport people to the Moon and to Mars.
The successful launch of the SpaceX rocket is a huge step forward for commercial space companies. It states that the next most powerful spacecraft in operation, the Delta IV Heavy, delivers half the payload at three times the cost. It was in full view this week, in the shape of a red Tesla Roadster, with dummy spaceman at the wheel, orbiting Earth.
In the near future, "most of our engineering resources will be dedicated to BFR, and I think that will make things go quite quickly", he said. Saturn V, which was retired in 1973, could carry a payload of 118 tonnes to LEO. However, the rocket's central boosters did not return to Earth as it was planned. Like the pioneering launch of the economical Electron rocket by New Zealand startup RocketLab last month, this breakthrough is paving the way for a space industry where private enterprise calls the shots.
Tesla's free cash flow was negative at $276.8 million in Q4, way lower than the $1.4-billion cash the company burnt in Q3 and the $969.8 million cash burnt in Q4 2016. For now, we can only thank Elon Mask and the Falcon Heavy for ferrying our dreams into the depths of space.
The Tesla roadster could be lapping the sun for hundreds on millions of years unless the mannequin-driven, Bowie-jammin electric auto hits a space pothole, is hit by a meteor or reckless UFO driver, or its extension cord isn't long enough. When Falcon Heavy was first announced back in 2011, Musk said it could fly within the next couple of years. Launching such a big rocket; getting two of the three boosters to land beautifully back at the spaceport from where they left; and sending a large object into an orbit around the sun - these are all first-time achievements, particularly for a private company with a short history.
They didn't stop there.
In addition, both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy have the capability of allowing U.S. Special Operations Commands small satellites to hitch a ride.
SpaceX does not, however, plan to certify the Falcon Heavy to fly humans.
With the prospect an adversary might take out satellites, the ability to quickly replace them can be a game changer for US and allied forces, Young said.
"It gives me a lot of faith for our next architecture", Musk said on Tuesday night, after the launch of Falcon Heavy.