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Elon Musk's 1st mission to Mars launches successfully

Written by: Colin Cullis

The takeoff was delayed but at 10:45 pm SA time it launched successfully.

A four-hour feed from the Tesla as Starman settles into his orbit around the Sun bound for Mars.

South Africans and the rest of the world got to watch three Falcon rockets launch Elon Musk's Tesla into space on 6 February 2018. During the launch, there were over 2,5 million people watching the SpaceX YouTube channel. Many other networks and channels also carried the feed live.

Musk posted an image on Instagram, of the car strapped to the engine that will carry it to Mars.

The image shows a mannequin, Starman, dressed in a space suit. The car has cameras that will allow the voyage to be tracked. It is now on its way to Mars, a car, once driven by Musk himself.

This was the first test flight. Of the three Falcon 9 rockets, two returned landing in unison back at Cape Canaveral. The feed to the third rocket's landing pad in the ocean was lost as it came into land. The core rocket did not land successfully and is either damaged or lost.

While those online were waiting to hear the fate of the center core rocket, the #PrayForCenterCore began to be shared. Less than an hour after the launch, a Twitter account called Falcon Heavy Core was tweeting about its own demise.

The three Falcon rockets connected make the rocket easier and cheaper to build and the takeoff went according to plan.

The two Falcon 9 rockets that returned will be serviced and reused.

Musk says, whatever happens, it will advance the knowledge and ability to one-day return man to the moon and eventually go to Mars.

It marked a big step forward for cost-effective space exploration.

The rocket has the power of 18 jumbo jets and is able to lift 64 tons. It costs over R100 million to launch, but that is still less than a third of the other rockets able to lift that much.

Space rival Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin wishes SpaceX well with the launch. Nominal is a word all space explorers love to hear, it means everything worked as expected.

You can read more about the Falcon Heavy and how it works.


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Elon Musk's 1st mission to Mars launches successfully




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