SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket on Historic Maiden Voyage

SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket on Historic Maiden Voyage

February 6th, 2018

Update: What Is Powering the Communications Package on the Roadster Payload?

On Live Views of Starman, there’s a video feed from the Roadster hurtling through space. Within a few seconds of watching that with my jaw hanging slack, I wondered, “What’s powering the coms package on that thing?”

At first, I wondered if it was the battery pack from the Roadster itself. But if it’s using the car’s battery, how long would that last at -270C?

I wasn’t able to find anything out about this. Can anyone help me out here?


The first Falcon Heavy rocket built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX soared on its maiden voyage today (Feb. 6) — a historic test flight that also sent a car toward Mars and included two confirmed booster landings.

Billed as the world’s most powerful booster since NASA’s Saturn V, the Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from Launch Pad 39A here at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) — the same site used by NASA’s Apollo moon missions and space shuttles — at 3:45 p.m. EST (2045GMT).

“I’m really excited about today,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters after the launch. “I’m really proud of the SpaceX team. They’ve done an incredible job of creating the most advanced rocket in the world, and the biggest rocket in the world.”

Standing 23 stories tall, the Falcon Heavy rocket is SpaceX’s largest rocket yet. Its first stage is powered by three core boosters based on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, with 27 engines (nine per booster) firing in unison to produce about 5 million lbs. of thrust (22,819 kilonewtons) at liftoff. While SpaceX hoped all three boosters would return to Earth and land, the center core missed its mark – a minor hiccup in an otherwise successful launch, Musk said.



4 Responses to “SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket on Historic Maiden Voyage”

  1. Dennis Says:

    I don’t know anything about this stuff really, but I imagine a second Tesla battery, mounted flush with the first, both insulated and with one powering an enclosing heating element (small potatoes for its capacity) to keep both at around 10 C. Of course, the heating element would need to be switched on before the batteries cooled, and I guess it could all be kept charged by solar…?

  2. Dennis Says:

    …and I guess it would make sense to reconfigure the cells to make the battery cuboid or spheroid to minimise heat loss.

  3. Kevin Says:

    I didn’t see any solar panels on the payload/Roadster. Also, the livestream from the car cut out after about 4 hours 40 minutes. So it probably used up the car’s battery, and or some other battery, to keep itself warm and to send the video stream back to Earth, and that’s all she wrote.

  4. Kevin Says:

    It used the car’s battery:

    SpaceX has not yet said how long the live stream will last, but the Tesla’s battery will only last for about 12 hours after liftoff, Musk said in a post-launch briefing at Kennedy Space Center.


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