And SpaceX does have one more thing to check off its to-do list before it can focus on BFR.
No, this is not a fake image. Tesla shares have been consolidating since the stock hit an all-time high of 389.61 on Sept. 18. It's going to be a tough balancing act: Tesla needs to weigh its own financial needs against those of its customers. The Model 3 also includes some of Tesla's standard tech features, like over-the-air updates and an Autopilot system with semi-autonomous features that can be used in some situations.
Figure 2. Falcon Heavy at liftoff. Tesla only made 1,550 deliveries of the Model 3 in the fourth quarter, far below the 4,100 expected by analysts.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy clears the launch pad. The $35,000 Standard Range and dual-motor options have not been released yet, but Tesla had been setting customer expectations that Standard Range would be available first. No, the car is currently floating around somewhere in between Mars and Earth.
In addition, the fall of American fund indexes, what journalists could easily compare with new signs of crisis, remained almost imperceptible against a background of this event. Many of the companies that are today considered to be headed by brilliant savants-people like Steve Jobs and, yes, Elon Musk-owe much of their success to decades of public sector innovation, through repackaging technologies developed over the course of several decades into new products. Musk declares the flight a "grand slam".
Figure 4. Planned Hohmann transfer orbit.
Tesla's splashy, iconic moment was coordinated by none other than SpaceX visionary - and Tesla CEO - billionaire Elon Musk. So what do you do for an encore? It's kind of silly and fun, but I think that silly, fun things are important.
"Falcon Heavy opens up a new class of payload", Musk told reporters following Tuesday's launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The goal is to launch it in 2019 and touch down at the Apollo 17 landing site, which was the final manned lunar mission in 1972.
Figure 5. Actual transfer orbit.
Others were more sceptical, saying the mysterious dark object is most likely a satellite or even a piece of space junk. It can lift the equivalent weight of five double decker London buses into orbit, without putting direct strain on the public purse as NASA's now shelved Space Shuttle program did.
SpaceX offered NASA the opportunity to get a free ride on this first launch. The model is just big enough to fit a Hot Wheels or Matchbox car inside. Such a yearning reflects how much we have denuded our planet that we consider readying a set of intrepid explorers to colonise space, with humanity's endlessly greedy use depleting our finite resources. You can learn anything that you want to learn. You need to be able to deactivate a weapon, right? Behind the wheel was "Starman" - a mannequin dressed in an actual Tesla spacesuit.
Which is a little reminiscent of this endeavor, as Starman has Bowie's "Space Oddity" playing on continuous loop for the next billion or so years, or until the power source runs out.