Yesterday SpaceX made history, launching the Falcon Heavy rocket into orbit, and sending a Tesla Roadster into space in the process. Not only is is Falcon Heavy the largest rocket currently in service, it’s also the first time we’ve put an automobile into space (aside from the Lunar Roving Vehicle of course, but that doesn’t really count).
After seeing all this you’d think Elon Musk would die a happy man. But the eccentric genius is far from done. He has huge ambitions for humanity and SpaceX.
Images courtesy: SpaceX
The thing is, this was never the end of the road for Space, it’s just the beginning. So the question is, where does SpaceX go from here?
For one thing this successful launch shows that, not only is SpaceX capable of lifting heavy payloads into orbit, it can also do this at a much cheaper rate than any previous rocket, thanks to its reusable booster cores. That in itself could be enough to completely change how we approach space exploration.
But there are other rockets in store as well, specifically the BFR aka Big Fucking Rocket. It’s a giant booster rocket strapped with 42 Raptor engines, meant to carry humans on a shuttle to Mars and eventually beyond.
SpaceX plans to pour all of its resources now into fully developing and testing the BFR, something it expects to eventually replace even the Falcon Heavy. And because that development has been so speedy, Elon Musk plans to skip human certification for the Falcon Heavy, and directly pushing for the BFR to receive it. He believes its “conceivable” that SpaceX may perform an orbital test flight of the BFR within three to four years.
In the meantime, SpaceX plans to increase the number and frequency of its rocket launches, which it could very well achieve thanks to hype from the Falcon Heavy. Then comes flying humans to the ISS and the Moon, even as it closes in on its goal of getting humans to Mars. Beyond that, musk has detailed a few ideas regarding how he would go about colonising the Red Planet, but everything is still up in the air for now.
In any case, it’s likely still going to be incredibly exciting to see where SpaceX goes from here.