Elon Musk is officially the coolest dude on the planet right now. The test launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy was quite successful. But it wasn’t just the science, it was all of the flourishes that almost pushed this into the realization of science fiction. More importantly, though, in a world of such regressive politics and thought, this was a much needed push forward.
Falcon 9 Heavy was to be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V. It launched successfully at 3:45 EST. The boosters separated and two of them landed beautifully. The third, unfortunately, was lost. Here’s the video of the launch, well worth the time to watch if you haven’t seen it.
The coolest touch, though, was the payload. Musk included a Tesla roadster with a mannequin, dubbed “Starman”, would would be launched into orbit around the sun. The mannequin was wearing a new space suit designed for a mission to Mars. The roadster was playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (even though no one would hear it in space) and sported a sign reading “Don’t Panic” in large, friendly letters.
As of this evening Starman was still streaming live on YouTube. Here’s a link for as long as it lasts. UPDATE: Apparently Starman is on his way to Mars, and the video is a 15 minute replay loop.
Many commented on the similarities between Starman and the opening to the 1981 movie Heavy Metal. Here’s that opening, for comparison.
My favorite part, though, was the side-by-side synchronized landing of the outer booster engines. This is what really made it look like science fiction.
The third booster ran out of propellant and crashed into the ocean at 300 mph.
For me this was a psychological boost. All of the news has been so negative lately. The powers that be seem intent on pulling us back into the past. This was a great progressive move forward. Even though it’s a private endeavor, I’m glad it was successful. I wish NASA had been the one to do something like this, but I don’t think they could have gotten away with launching a car into space.