Why SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Is Such a Big Deal
SpaceX unveils its most powerful rocket.
SpaceX has given the world a first look at its most powerful rocket yet - the Falcon Heavy. Not only is this beast the most powerful rocket that the Elon Musk-led SpaceX ever made, it will be “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” according to their site. When it launches with its initial cargo, its destination will be the orbit of Mars, according to Musk. Eventually, the rocket might be the one to carry humans to the Red Planet as well.
Sharing the rocket’s photos and video on Twitter and Instagram, SpaceX put the space vehicle's might in perspective, saying it’s equal to eighteen 747 aircraft “at full power”.
"With more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff — equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power — Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two," SpaceX reps wrote.
To get that 5 million pounds of thrust and liftoff, the two-stage rocket has 27 first-stage Merlin engines, as states SpaceX. That’s three times as many engines as are on SpaceX’s current workhorse rocket - the Falcon 9.
In fact, the first stage for the Falcon Heavy essentially involves three Falcon 9 cores strapped together. The reusable boosters will get it into orbit, then fly back to Earth and land vertically like other Falcon 9s. The second stage will be powered by just one Merlin engine, same as the Falcon 9.
Here is the Falcon Heavy getting vertical:
Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.
- During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
- If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.
- SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
- A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
- A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
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