SpaceX Launches

Most powerful rocket from a private company sent into space Tuesday

SpaceX launched the most powerful rocket in operation on Tuesday. This is more than just sensationalism for a company that has a history of attracting big headlines. Also, for the many readers of Electrical Apparatus working for companies or shops with applications in the aerospace sector, Tuesday’s launch was mighty relevant; a number of EA readers have manufactured parts used on rockets before. The launch was operated from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX overcame two previous launches that were unsuccessful, and reconstructed its largest and most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. The launch of the Falcon Heavy—a version of the Falcon 9 with more power—is a milestone. It marks the first time a rocket this powerful has been sent into space by a private company rather than a government space agency. According to Space.com, the Falcon Heavy, on which SpaceX spent nearly $500 million over seven years, can carry twice as much payload as its closest competitor, the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy. It also does it for a lower cost. The rocket contains three first-stage boosters that are designed to be reusable.

For a generation far removed from that of the original age of space exploration, this was their equivalent. Even the company’s prolific founder described the moment as “surreal”.

The company, owned by Elon Musk, now at least crosses the checkpoint from inexperienced upstart to legitimate aerospace operation. Its CEO, Musk, holds the same title at Tesla, the electric vehicle and battery storage giant; SolarCity, the photovoltaic panel manufacturer and renewable energy grid integrator; and The Boring Company, a tunneling and underground transportation brainchild. Like him or not, Musk’s operations certainly seem to get a lot done, even if their sustainability (and sometimes ethics) are brought into question. The Falcon Heavy launch cements SpaceX as a company with achievements on the board.

Oh, and of course, Mr. Musk couldn’t do it without sending a Tesla car into orbit around Mars.

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