Mane Engineering Issue 10 - May 2018 - Page 13

MAY 2018 | MANE AEROSPACE, DEFENCE & SPACE | 13

Welcome to the AGE

of a new space race

Welcome to the AGE

of a new space race

In February 2018, SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket on its maiden voyage. The Falcon Heavy rocket is essentially three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. On board the cargo-lifting rocket was Tesla's Roadster carrying a mannequin named "Starman". The payload was released into space on a voyage going farther out into the Solar System than originally planned - the vehicle was planned to go into Mars' orbit.

During the launch, the side boosters landed in unison in what will be footage that replayed in history and science classrooms for decades to come. The boosters were reused from their own individual Falcon 9 launches. The return of the centre core was not as successful as it missed its target, crashing into the water.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is currently the most powerful in the world - still behind the Saturn V for most powerful ever. It will have another test launch later in 2018 and SpaceX will continue to develop even more powerful rockets.

Elon Musk said of the launch, "We want a new space race. Space races are exciting." There are other privately funded companies working on their own rocket technology that can ignite a new space race that has not been seen in almost four decades.