Added 1 new A* page:SpaceX had a successful test launch of their new Falcon Heavy rocket: the rocket's two side boosters landed successfully, for re-use—the central booster, which is trickier to land, and hasn't had as much testing, didn't make it. It won't be known until Tuesday whether the rocket's test cargo, a Tesla convertible roadster with space-suit-wearing mannequin sitting in the driver's seat, has successfully achieved its intended solar orbit.|
The Falcon Heavy is twice as powerful as most powerful rocket currently in operation, and four times cheaper by cargo weight: it can "place up to 70 tons into standard low-Earth orbit at a cost of $90 million per launch." The Heavy, which is 70 meters tall, is basically three of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets bolted together, packing a total of 27 engines.
SpaceX is already working on an even more powerful rocket: the "Big Falcon Rocket," or "BFR" (which follows a naming convention in which the "F" stands for a different f-word...), with which they intend to be able to send space tourists around the Moon.
Update 11:55 pm:
Thanks to reader Walter Milliken for correcting me about the intended orbit of the roadster!
According to Wikipedia, the point of the test was "to demonstrate that the Falcon Heavy can launch payloads as far as the orbit of Mars." Ars Technica says the intended orbit for the roadster was "a cycling orbit between Earth and Mars," although they cite Musk as saying "the vehicle should get as far as 380 to 450 million km from Earth, depending on how the third burn goes." Wikipedia says it "overshot the orbit of Mars," and it did, but it appears to have achieved a wider orbit within the bounds Musk predicted, reaching nearly to the orbit of Ceres in the asteroid belt. SpaceX has some surreal footage of roadster and its "Starman" dummy driver in space on YouTube.