Mars Chronicles - Rocket Power



Zachary Hveem

Part II

Elon Musk’s success in 2018 is hard to put into words. This year marks SpaceX’s 10 year anniversary to be the first private company to launch a rocket into space. September 28th, 2008 was a day no one should forget. This year will go down as the year the push for the Red Planet was leashed upon the world.  

Fast forward one decade later, and SpaceX’s advancements in rocket technology are unprecedented. In February 2018 Falcon Heavy completed its first test launch and it was officially the second most powerful rocket ever launched from Earth. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. 

The launch was a test run to see where SpaceX stands in rocket engineering. The mission was to land 2 side boosters and the main core back on the planet after dropping a payload off in space. The payload was the midnight cherry Tesla Roadster, one of Tesla's most beautiful and expensive cars. Test flights like these demonstrations typically carry steel or concrete blocks as mass simulators, but SpaceX had something different in mind. A red Roadster for the red planet only made sense.

 It turns out the car is taking a detour towards the Asteroid Belt instead. Maybe Elon secretly wanted the roadster to make a special entrance to the dwarf planet Ceres. Nevertheless, the Falcon Heavy launch went off in style.

The accomplishments during the test were unmatched and a learning experience. The payload was successfully deployed and the two side boosters landed simultaneously at SpaceX Landing Zones 1 and 2.  


The Main Core was a different story. It was scheduled to land offshore on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You,” but crashed when two of three engines did not fire during a final landing burn. It missed the landing ship by about 328 feet (100 meters) and hit the water at 300 mph, damaging thrusters on the nearby drone ship. Musk followed up on twitter saying, “Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights. Fix is pretty obvious.” 

 

SpaceX continues to learn and advance their technology every day. They are the leaders on the space frontier and are an inspiration to us all. Thomas Edison once said, “ I haven’t failed, I just tried 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Elon and SpaceX improve upon every failure, capitalizing on what they may learn from all the “ways that won’t work.” Failure is but a step along the way for the innovators that will eventually change life as we know it. SpaceX is determined to do what it takes to move humanity out amongst the stars. 

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