Elon Musk is certainly one of the brightest minds the world has ever seen. February 2018 saw the SpaceX founder achieve yet another mind blowing feat by sending the most powerful rocket into space... along with a Tesla Roadster, obviously. We saw history in the making with Falcon Heavy soaring off into the heavens, and it was a pretty epic Tesla PR campaign. With sending his electric car into space, Elon Musk not only pulled of a phenomenal publicity stunt but also showcased the potential of SpaceX. With that SpaceX are showing the world that they put their money where their mouth is and that they truly can deliver the goods.
At $90Million, three times less than the cost of its “competitors”, Falcon Heavy’s breaking some serious records along the way. Falcon Heavy was built to launch substantially heavier loads than its predecessors. The SpaceX rocket can launch twice the load of Falcon Heavy’s closet revival, United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. . The market has shifted and changed since 2011 when Elon Musk first announced the Falcon Heavy project. SpaceX has acquired a couple of massive clients including the US Air Force and Arabsat, a consortium of Arab nations putting communications satellites into orbit. It has taken SpaceX half a billion dollars and several years to develop the world’s most powerful rocket. During which time SpaceX increased the capability of their smaller rockets, including the Falcon 9, and done groundbreaking work reducing the size of satellites.
"There is a part of the commercial market that requires Falcon Heavy," "It's going to be consistent, but it's much smaller than we thought." SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, LA Times, 2017.
Space tourism is a promising industry, but the costs will limit its availability to the super-rich, and it will remain that way for sometime to come. It was a year ago that SpaceX announced that they will send two paying passengers into orbit around the moon. This feat has not been achieved since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, the sixth and Apollo mission in which humans last walked on the lunar surface. It was December 14th, 1972, that Cernan became the last human on the Moon.
07 00 00 47: “Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface and as I take man’s last steps from the surface, back home, for some time to come, but we believe not too long into the future. I’d like to Just list what I believe history will record that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus Littrow, we leave as we come and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”
In the forty-two years since those words were spoken, nobody has stepped on the Moon.
SpaceX “tourists” will ride onboard a passenger version of the Dragon 2 capsule. NASA has used the capsule to send cargo to the International Space Station. The moonshot was planned for late this year, but SpaceX has yet to commit to that timeline.