Falcon Heavy’s maiden voyage takes Elon Musk closer to his vision of cheap space travel.
Big and cheap: The rocket hauls a lot and is (comparatively) frugal. As the Economist notes, a Falcon Heavy launch using old rockets costs $90 million and can put a 64-ton payload into low-Earth orbit. That’s a quarter the cost of the next most powerful rocket, Delta IV Heavy, which can take just half the payload.
Why that matters: The rocket could do things like put large sets of internet-delivering satellites into orbit or fire supplies toward Mars more cheaply than any other. Meanwhile, NASA looks on: its heavy-lift rocket, Space Launch System, isn’t due to fly until 2020.
Next up: Musk has bigger ideas, with a five-booster Falcon Super Heavy and his Mars-going Big F****** Rocket in the works.
The Biggest Questions: Are we alone in the universe?
Scientists are training machine-learning models and designing instruments to hunt for life on other worlds.
The Biggest Questions: Why is the universe so complex and beautiful?
For some reason the universe is full of stars, galaxies, and life. But it didn’t have to be this way.
This startup wants to find out if humans can have babies in space
SpaceBorn United wants to conduct an IVF experiment in Earth’s orbit to pave the way for long-term space missions.
Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as possible
When it comes to exploring the solar system, we must grapple with the hard limits of physics.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.