World’s most powerful satellite

World’s most powerful satellite
On February 6th, 2018, SpaceX will be launching Falcon Heavy, which has been deemed the most powerful satellite in the world. Musk has stated that this satellite will be big..

On February 6th, 2018, SpaceX will be launching Falcon Heavy, which has been deemed the most powerful satellite in the world.

Musk has stated that this satellite will be big enough to eventually carry astronauts and equipment to Mars. SpaceX has been dubbed as a key disruptor in the industry and could routinize space travel in the near future.

Background

Elon Musk is a South African-born Canadian American business magnate, investor and inventor. He is best known as the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX. It is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California that was founded in 2002.  by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has since developed the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family, which both currently deliver payloads into Earth orbit.

SpaceX's achievements include the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008). It was also the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft. The spacecraft was called Dragon. The first ever spacecraft sent to the International Space Station by a private company was also achieved by SpaceX. As of March 2017, SpaceX has since flown ten missions to the International Space Station (ISS) under a cargo resupply contract. The company has also struck a development contract with NASA. This deal stipulates that SpaceX would develop and demonstrate a human-rated Dragon, which would be used to transport astronauts to the ISS and return them safely to Earth. There were a total of 18 launches in 2017.

In January 2018, SpaceX successfully launched a top secretive aircraft which has been nicknamed Zuma. There are sparse details surrounding the launch of Zuma and it has been revealed that the top secret mission is for the US government.

Analysis

SpaceX designed and manufactured the Falcon Heavy, which is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle. The company recently announced that it has set a launch date for the satellite – February 6th. It has been deemed the most powerful satellite in the world. The most powerful satellite in the history of mankind was NASA's Saturn V rocket. It was used for the Apollo moon landings and was retired in the 1970s.

Musk took to Twitter to note, “Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway.”

The initial concept (Falcon 9-S9 2005) was envisioned to carry payloads of 24,750 kilograms (54,560 lb) to LEO. However, by April 2011 this was projected to be up to 53,000 kilograms (117,000 lb).

"Falcon Heavy requires the simultaneous ignition of 27 orbital-class engines. There's a lot that could go wrong there," Musk said at a conference last year. "This is one of those things that's very difficult to test on the ground...Real good chance that vehicle does not make it to orbit."

Part of the reason why there has been increased interest surrounding Falcon Heavy is due to the possibilities it poses. According to SpaceX, the space vehicle can in the not-so-distant future carry astronauts and equipment to Mars.

On February 6th, SpaceX will fit in a car (red Tesla roadster) for its first test mission. This is a dummy payload and does not serve any scientific reason for sending it. It should be noted that Musk is a co-founder of Tesla and this could also serve as an opportunity for publicity for the vehicle manufacturer.

Assessment

Our assessment is that if SpaceX is able to successfully launch Falcon Heavy, it will create a number of business opportunities for the company. It perhaps will be a gamechanger for commercial companies entering the business of spaceflight. We believe that travelling to space would be an option available to any person who can afford such a flight. 

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