Boeing CEO: We're Going to Beat Elon Musk to Mars

Lloyd Doyle
December 7, 2017

The SpaceX chief executive said when the company's Falcon Heavy rocket launches in January, the "payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster".

"Destination is Mars orbit". Earlier this year, SpaceX was awarded a $96.5 million contract with the U.S. Air Force, beating out Boeing and Lockheed Martin's joint venture, United Launch Alliance, for a chance to assist on future space missions.

The billionaire entrepreneur tweeted his plans last week and it was uncertain whether he was joking.

But SpaceX confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that the plan is for real.

Falcon Heavy, a qualified "most powerful rocket in the world", is meant to propel in space crews, astronauts and equipment to destinations beyond earth orbit, like the Moon and Mars.

It can propel 119,000 pounds (54 metric tons) - or the same as a fully loaded Boeing 737 jet - into orbit, twice the load of the Delta IV Heavy, now the biggest rocket in operation.

This is two times the load the current biggest rocket in operation, the Delta IV Heavy, can propel. Now that the pad is fixed, SpaceX can resume launching its smaller Falcon 9 there while preparing Pad 39A for the upcoming maiden flight of its larger Falcon Heavy rocket.

Musk presented an update to his Interplanetary Transport System that included a look at SpaceX's BFR rocket: a massive space transport rocket that intends to house 100 Mars-bound travelers for as long as six months in individual cabins, but also facilitate rapid earth-to-earth travel. In September 2016, an unmanned rocket carrying a satellite meant to be used by Facebook exploded during a routine test.

Then, in March, the California-based company made history when it launched and retrieved a rocket which had successfully returned after a previous launch.

However, its missions haven't always gone to plan.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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