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.