Musk’s B Ark to launch
Written by Mark Evans
Elon Musk never fails to entertain, and gain publicity, even when making a serious point about the state of space exploration.
With his new SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launcher being readied for launch, Musk has added a Tesla Roadster as cargo to act as attest payload. On top of that there is a dummy wearing a SpaceX spacesuit, the car will play Space Oddity and there is a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the glovebox with a towel and a sign saying Don't Panic, items that those familiar with the work will recognise. If not, do read it, it is very funny.
The launch is scheduled for 18:30 Tuesday, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). video link here.
The serious point is that the Falcon Heavy can lift twice the load of any other vehicle, and at a considerably cheaper rate than NASA’s proposed vehicles.
The Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9 rockets linked together, with the added complication that this also increases the risks of launch with 27 motors to fire. One reason that a ‘dummy’ load is being used.
The venerable Saturn V, last flown in 1973, is the only rocket to have delivered more payload to orbit, and the SpaceX site makes the association quite deliberately as the Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space. Musk has always made it clear that the Moon or Mars are future destinations.