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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

SpaceX to launch Falcon Heavy towards Mars

The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation known as SpaceX will be launching its Falcon Heavy missile, the largest and most powerful in company history, today, Feb. 6. Launch will be between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. CST. The missile will have the Tesla Roadster of the company’s founder, Elon Musk, as a test payload. A test payload is whatever is placed inside a vehicle to test how people and objects will react to travel.
The Falcon Heavy will launch into a hyperbolic orbit, also known as Hohmann transfer orbit. This orbit will send the rocket out to Mars, then back to the sun on a nearly infinite loop.
The Falcon Heavy is the company’s latest advancement and the next step in the company’s goal of sending a person to Mars.
The Roadster, an unusual choice for a payload, is a 2008 model and has served as a personal vehicle for Musk. All rocket payloads require a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration, which the FAA granted SpaceX on Friday.
Musk wrote in an Instagram post that the Roadster was chosen because it is not the usual, boring object often used in rocket launches.
“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring,” Musk wrote. “Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.”
Should the Falcon Heavy launch be successful, SpaceX will begin to move forward with its plan of having launches for paying customers. In February of 2017, Musk announced two customers have offered to pay for a ride on a SpaceX rocket to around the moon and back. Both customers have already paid a deposit for the trip, according to NPR.
This venture would cost about $90 million per launch, a third of the price for similar rockets built by SpaceX competitors. The payload will be jettisoned into deep space.
Given the right trajectory and enough fuel, the Falcon Heavy has enough thrust reach Pluto or even farther.
In a Twitter post, Musk wrote that the car will be playing the song “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, and “will be in deep space for a billion years or so — if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”

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