• Question: what was your thoughts on the first successful launch of the falcon heavy and how much of a gamer changer is it that elon musk has made space travel not only have as cheep but also reusable

    Asked by 6c-69-61-6d to Hollie, Phil, Steve on 16 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Hollie Heard

      Hollie Heard answered on 16 Mar 2018:

      It was a fantastic achievement, a successful maiden flight is always a risk and even Elon Musk gave it a 50-50 chance! The fact that also managed the successful landing of the side boosters, even if the the centre booster landed of course in the water, is an incredible feat of engineering. It’s the reusability of the booster stages that makes the launches cheaper as you don’t have to pay for new ones every time they can just be refurbished and reused. By making space more affordable, (it’s still not really that cheap), it can enable a lot of other projects to get into orbit. SpaceX have made huge strides in launch capabilities ,and whilst the need for payload masses as high as the Falcon Heavy are rare, (it has the largest launch capability of any launch vehicle in service, not ever, but in service), it means that more joint launches or possible, again making things cheaper, and offers the potential for possible larger sections or payloads for future Mars or Lunar missions. Elon Musk himself is already aiming for Mars and he seems to achieve most of what he tries so I’m sure we’ll get there! Where do you see Space X or other commercial launch companies being able to take us in the future?

    • Photo: Steve Williams

      Steve Williams answered on 19 Mar 2018:

      I assume you watched it live as I did. The landing of the 2 booster rockets was so perfect that I thought I was watching CGI. Absolutely fantastic, can’t remember when I last watched something that was so amazing. I am not sure where we go from here but it should make space travel cheaper. I think this represents a step forward but we really need to be thinking about the next generation of propulsion as we are still using a technology that was developed during the second world war. Its been refined but it’s basically the same. I guess that’s how an engineer thinks always thinking about how we can improve and I think there is much to be done. This is the type of problem that is going to be left to your generation so no shortage of challenges.

      I worked on a mission that will soon be launched on a SpaceX falcon so I am pleased their launches are so successful.