SpaceX's Falcon Heavy is officially the most powerful rocket launched. The launch did not only carry the Tesla Roadster, but it will also boost Elon Musk's space business.
The Falcon Heavy is now in space after the successful Tuesday afternoon launch. Even the founder and CEO of SpaceX felt surreal that the Falcon Heavy's launch went almost flawless and without any glitches.
It will be known soon if the second stage of the rocket carrying a cherry red Tesla Roadster and the Starman space dummy will reach its destination — Mars's orbit.
What's in store for Musk and his space flight business after SpaceX proved that the Falcon Heavy can fly? Musk says the company is focusing its resources and energy on the BFR.
More Missions for SpaceX
What sets the Falcon Heavy apart from the competition is its engine power and reuse and recovery capabilities. After the successful launch, SpaceX is already booked for two new missions in 2018 — the launch of a communications satellite and a space test program for the U.S. Air Force.
The cost of each Falcon Heavy launch is estimated at $90 million per flight. The reusability of the Falcon Heavy's boosters will reduce the cost of heavy-lift space missions to $62 million per flight.
"If we are successful in this, it is game over for all other heavy-lift rockets," Musk said.
Once fully operational, the Falcon Heavy would be capable of carrying payloads as heavy as 119,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit or nearly double the capacity of its competitor Delta IV Heavy that can lift more than 62,000 pounds.
BFR Is The Next Big Space Thing
The Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy would continue to bring in more revenue for SpaceX, but for the company's deep space and lunar missions, SpaceX is now looking at the BFR, a new-generation rocket launch system.
"There are a lot of uncertainties around this program, but it is going to be our focus. We're almost done with Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. After block 5 we won't be doing any more with Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy, and with Dragon probably after Dragon Two," Musk said.
The BFR has boosters designed to launch people into space and can be used for point-to-point transportation around the world.
Musk said the BFR might be ready for next year, but there are still challenges such as the design of the ship. It will have 40 cabins, large common areas, central storage, galley, and solar storm shelter.
The BFR will have 31 Raptor engines that can produce liftoff thrust of 5,400 tons and a total vehicle mass of 4,400 tons.
A full-scale test of the BFR is expected within the next three to four years, regarded as the key to unlocking Mars and interplanetary travel.
As for the competition, the New Glenn Rocket, the reusable heavy-lifter rocket made by Jeff Bezos's space company Blue Origins, is slated for initial launch in 2020.