Yesterday was the maiden voyage of the Falcon Heavy and true to its nature, SpaceX didn’t disappoint. Whether we’re looking at the technical execution of landing two boosters vertically after flight at the same time on tandem pads (we’ll ignore that pesky central core), or the inspiration of real-life ‘Starman’ entering orbit to the tune of David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars,’ there’s a lot to be excited about.
What made this launch so memorable was the gutsy aspiration, the heart, the because-we-can’ ethos. Why launch a boring regular test payload when instead, they can test a new space suit and do it in one of the most endearing ways possible? That creativity is a talent in its own right. It doesn’t merely make news, it captures the love and imagination of generations and reminds us exactly why space travel is fucking awesome.
And yes, there are times when we need exactly this kind of boot to the head to wake us from our earthbound problems and inspire us to dream of what humankind can accomplish next — among the stars.
Keep being awesome, SpaceX.
As for the technical side of things, the drone ship video feed was lost after the central core booster hit the ocean at 300 miles per hour, about 300 feet (100 meters) from the drone ship. The rocket was able to restart only one of its three engines during re-entry before it ran out of the TEA-TEB compound required to ignite the fuel mixture.
Elon Musk’s commentary and attitude on this are interesting: in a world where many CEOs tend not to engage actively with the public, he bucks the trend by being casual and upfront, often discussing a lot of the learning opportunities, successes, and failures his company has had over the years.
And yes, there have been some spectacular fireworks at past launches and landings.