SpaceX: Falcon Heavy & Starman (Bowie)
When Falcon Heavy lifted off, it became the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.
Following liftoff, the two side boosters separated from the center core and returned to landing site for future reuse.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., doing business as SpaceX, is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has since developed the Falconlaunch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family, which both currently deliver payloads into Earth orbit.
SpaceX’s achievements include the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008), the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (Dragon in 2010), the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon in 2012), the first propulsive landing for an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2015), the first reuse of an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2017), and the first privately funded space agency to launch an object into solar orbit (Falcon Heavy‘s payload of a Tesla Roadster in 2018). SpaceX has flown ten missions to the International Space Station (ISS) under a cargo resupply contract. NASA also awarded SpaceX a further development contract in 2011 to develop and demonstrate a human-rated Dragon, which would be used to transport astronauts to the ISS and return them safely to Earth.
Elon Reeve Musk (/ˈiːlɒn ˈmʌsk/; born June 28, 1971) is a South African-born Canadian American business magnate, investor, and engineer. He is the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; and co-founder and CEO of Neuralink. In December 2016, he was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People. As of February 2018, he has a net worth of $20.8 billion and is listed by Forbes as the 53rd richest person in the world.
Born in Pretoria, Musk taught himself computer programming at the age of 12. He moved to Canada when he was 17 to attend Queen’s University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received an economics degree from the Wharton School and a degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. He began a PhD in applied physics and material sciences at Stanford University in 1995 but dropped out after two days to pursue an entrepreneurial career. He subsequently co-founded Zip2, a web software company, which was acquired by Compaq for $340 million in 1999. Musk then founded X.com, an online payment company. It merged with Confinity in 2000 and became PayPal, which was bought by eBayfor $1.5 billion in October 2002.