Up…up and gone. As Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, the triumphant moment marked a gigantic leap in man’s unending exploration of space. There are many factors that make SpaceX Falcon’s successful launch on Tuesday a truly historic moment. Firstly, SpaceX Falcon is the world’s most powerful operational rocket and more importantly it was completely designed & launched by a private organization (not any government agency). Secondly, the launch marks the most definitive step towards Elon Musk’s insanely ambitious project to create a human colony on the red planet.
Following Tuesday’s launch, Musk’s SpaceX Falcon will now orbit planet Mars for nearly thousands of years, as is claimed by Musk himself. However, SpaceX Falcon is not heading to red planet all alone. It is accompanied by a cherry red Tesla Roadster car and a dummy driver clad in a space suit. Although Falcon’s companion appear to be little bizarre, but over the years world has learnt to expect such unusual and unconventional things from Musk.
If everything indeed goes as planned, Tesla Roadster car that has been fitted with advanced chips and other sophisticated instruments will orbit the red planet for thousands of year. And at the helm of the affair would be, of course, the dummy driver. On the outset this looks crazy, but again we’re talking about Musk here.
Falcon’s successful launch marks a watershed moment for private companies’ participation in space exploration. Till now, space exploration as a frontier has been largely explored and handled by government agencies like NASA. However, it is not that private companies have totally overlooked the commercial aspect of space exploration. Commercial launches began as back as 1980s with French firm Arianespace, but since then none of the private companies have been able to make a big dent on the space frontier.
Several years back, billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, touted as world’s first commercial spaceline, did raise public hopes. But Virgin Galactic’s repeated launch failures dashed those fragile hopes. However, on Tuesday those hopes rose from their ashes and resurrected to soar into the outer space. Of course, with this launch, Elon Musk has assured his place in the history books. But there is still lot of work to be done and we should be hoping that musk and his company SpaceX are cut out for all the humongous challenges that lays ahead.