SpaceX boss Elon Musk wants to see “a new space race” after his company successfully tested its Falcon Heavy rocket.
The Falcon Heavy is capable of delivering very heavy packages into orbit—its first payload was one of Tesla’s Roadster cars—and Musk said after the test that it would be able to “launch things direct to Pluto and beyond.”
“Don’t even need gravity assist or anything,” he reportedly said. “You can go back to the moon.”
The hyper-entrepreneur said Falcon Heavy’s launch would “encourage other companies and countries” into a new wave of space competition.
Musk also admitted that SpaceX had tried three times to cancel the Falcon Heavy program due to its difficulty.
The launch was indeed repeatedly delayed. It was originally scheduled for 2013, then early 2016, then later in 2016, then 2017… and so on.
SpaceX delayed it by a few more hours on Tuesday due to heavy winds. But then it took off, and two of its three boosters landed back on Earth. This was the first successful re-landing of multiple rocket cores in history.
Customers lined up to use the Falcon Heavy system include Arabsat, Inmarsat and Viasat. And then, of course, there’s Mars—SpaceX wants the Falcon Heavy to be the foundation for its Martian colonization plans.