Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: February 11, 2018

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by Hazed

Normally the stories I cover in the Fed2 Star don’t make the front pages of the real life media, but this one was covered widely so you probably already know about it. Still, I have to write about it because it is very significant.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket into space last Tuesday. It delivered its payload into orbit and then two of the side rockets successfully landed vertically at the space centre just eight minutes after the launch, ready to be reused.

The central stage separated from the payload shortly after and was due to land on the company’s autonomous barge in the Atlantic, but two of its three rockets failed to reignite during the descent and it smashed into the sea.

Still, as Meat Loaf sang (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5hWWe-ts2s), two out of three ain’t bad, and that minor problem aside this is a monumental achievement. The Falcon heavy is the most powerful reuseable rocket, capable of heaving large payloads into space. It won’t be used for manned flights – that will be the job of its successor, the Big F…ing Rocket. The Falcon Heavy’s success signals that SpaceX is ready to break into a market that so far has been dominated by governments.

Since this was a test, the payload for the launch was not an actual satellite – they are far too expensive to risk. Instead, Mr Musk sent up a cherry red Tesla Roadster, with a space-suited dummy strapped into the seat. (Or perhaps it was the body of somebody he wanted to get rid of…)

Here’s a fantastic picture of the Roadster with its ‘driver’, with a crescent Earth in the background: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180210.html

The car contains a miniature version of the same car, with its own mini-dummy. It is also carrying a crystal inscribed with words from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books – apparently a fave of Elon – and the touchscreen on the dashboard says DON’T PANIC! Douglas Adams would be so proud.

And the car stereo is playing David Bowie’s Starman. What could be more appropriate?

The Roadster is fitted with cameras and there’s a live camera stream you watch at the source links below, as well as videos of the car’s ascent. You can also watch videos of the side rockets landing, which look like something from a science fiction movie (Thunderbird 3, I think).

The car is currently in Earth orbit. Yes, there really is a car in space. Not only that, it’s going to head to Mars. That’s very cool – even if it isn’t very environmentally friendly.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42969020

Update: The rocket burn intended to push the Roadster towards Mars has actually sent it on a course to the asteroid belt instead. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/07/spacex_telsa_roadster_asteroids/

Another Update: NASA is listing the Roadster as an official celestial body.

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