Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
I could provide links to probably a hundred articles, but most simply say the same things, while generally being awed and excited. The handful below sum things up well, plus provide some additional details:
- Internet users – including Donald Trump – are over the moon about SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket
- SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch was YouTube’s second biggest live stream ever
- SpaceX had a big launch. California is taxing it
- Elon Musk wants ‘a new space race,’ says new SpaceX rocket can launch payloads as far as Pluto
- Don’t expect deep discounts on preflown SpaceX boosters
The first two stories provide a good overview of the excitement caused by the launch. The third story, about California’s tax on rocket launches, is really an op-ed opposing the tax. (I don’t expect that state’s leftist legislature to cancel it.) The third story also outlines what happened, but provides this significant quote from Musk, illustrating starkly how revolutionary this rocket is:
Musk said he personally inspected the landed boosters, adding that SpaceX could even reuse them if it wanted. Even after seeing the results of the launch, Musk said he was having difficulty comprehending the magnitude of the flight, saying it was surreal for him to see such success.
“It can launch things direct to Pluto and beyond. Don’t even need gravity assist or anything,” Musk said. “You can go back to the moon.”
He estimated the total SpaceX investment was over $500 million dollars to develop Falcon Heavy. Musk noted those funds were “all internal,” and not from taxpayers or fundraising.
In other words, the taxpayer now has available, at no development cost, the heavy-lift rocket that NASA has been trying and failing to build for tens of billions since 2004.
Finally, the last story isn’t really about Falcon Heavy, but about how SpaceX is in the driver’s seat in the prices it charges. The company is saving quite a lot by reusing its first stage boosters. For the first initial launches reusing these boosters they offered discounts to get customers to use them. Now they no longer have to, because their normal prices beat everyone else anyway. They can pocket the extra profits.
And all this has happened because of freedom, competition, and the vision of one man. Musk deserves all the accolades he is receiving today.