On Tuesday, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, generating fanfare similar to the liftoff of a space shuttle. The successful launch of the rocket was indeed a significant achievement by Musk's aerospace company, but a red Tesla Roadster the rocket was carrying as its payload had also prompted many to ask why to send a sports vehicle into deep space.
A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on February 6. The Falcon Heavy flight performed well, lofting its cargo into space (a Tesla sports auto playing David Bowie tunes and carrying a space-suited mannequin - like we said, Musk is eccentric).
One concern before the Model 3 launched was whether the lower-cost vehicle would cannibalize demand for Tesla's Model S and Model X, which are now the automaker's bread and butter.
An unbelievable moment in space and a genius advertisement: Yes, Elon Musk's ultra-cool cherry red Tesla convertible Roadster floating in orbit.
"That seemed extremely boring", said Musk of settling for concrete or steel blocks.
"I think it looks so ridiculous and impossible".
The much delayed, much maligned rocket is just what the space agency needs to escape from the governmental bureaucracy that has bound her to Low Earth Orbit for the past 45 years.
His overriding goal is to establish a city on Mars, sending people there in a flotilla of SpaceX spaceships launched by colossal SpaceX rockets. But the space agency viewed commercial development of this rocket as "competition" and refused their offer. However, the rocket's central boosters did not return to Earth as it was planned. Before dashing off to the red planet, Musk said he'd want to try out this spaceship in orbit around Earth _ possibly in three to four years with the supersize rocket _ and then the moon. One nine-engine first stage and a single engine second stage.
One of Musk's key takeaways from the Falcon Heavy's successful flight?
Musk, famous at Tesla for knowing how to extract billions in public subsidies, has built SpaceX around government contracts, so we grant that he hasn't done this entirely via the free market.
SpaceX - and the space community in general - is notoriously loose with deadlines.
SpaceX is competing with Boeing to be the first to send Americans into orbit from USA soil again, something that hasn't happened since NASA's last shuttle flight. He's hoping that will encourage other companies and countries "to raise their sights and say, hey, we can do bigger and better, which is great".