One step closer to living on Mars

This Tuesday was a very exciting time for space and aerospace technology enthusiasts. SpaceX, the ambitious private space company founded by Elon Musk, has launched its long-awaited Falcon Heavy Rocket. Regardless of whether the rocket would have exploded, SpaceX has undoubtedly provided the audience with an amazing aerobatics display.

But what is the Falcon Heavy? The Falcon Heavy is 3 Falcon Nine Rocket (so named because each rocket has 9 Merlin engines) strapped together making it the biggest heavy launch vehicle in the world to date. This is the largest rocket since Nasa’s Saturn V Rocket which sent astronauts to the moon. The Falcon Heavy is capable of lifting the equivalent weight of a fully loaded Boeing 737 into low earth orbit and has the thrust power equivalent to eighteen 747’s. Although strapping three rockets together does not sound very difficult, it is an extreme technical challenge that took decades for large Space administrations to figure out and master. SpaceX has done it in a mere 6 years.

The launch was a real spectacle. SpaceX sent Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster as the payload on the rocket, which is set to transfer into orbit around Mars and hopefully be recoverable in the future. But the fun didn’t end there. The audience got the chance to see the simultaneous return landing of the two side-boosters as well as the landing of the core on the drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You,” which is an unprecedented feat of rocket aerobatics. And to top it all off, the roadster had “Space Oddity,” by the late David Bowie, playing during the launch.

As cool as it would be to see the entire rocket explode in mid-air, taking the Tesla with it, SpaceX has taken a major leap forward in space exploration. This successful launch of the Falcon Heavy puts SpaceX one step closer to Elon Musk’s goal of establishing a permanent human population on Mars as well as making the solar system much more accessible for much lower costs.