Science

SpaceX launches Falcon 9-R prototype with ‘enough thrust to lift a skyscraper’

Elon Musk, the real-world Tony Stark of our age, just tweeted a rather majestic photo (above) of his company’s latest achievement.

The image shows the “first firing of Falcon 9-R advanced prototype rocket,” said Musk. “Over 1M lbs thrust, enough to lift skyscraper.”

The Falcon 9 rocket is a big part of SpaceX’s roadmap to put people in space on commercial flights. Along with the Dragon free-flying, reuseable spacecraft, Falcon 9 vehicles will be used to prepare for a spring 2014 in-flight abort test for human spaceflight.

As well as continuing development and testing on the Falcon 9, SpaceX is also developing a new rocket called Merlin; the two are intended to be launched together.

The high-aiming, big-thinking Musk also said at a recent conference he’s thinking about reinventing the automobile, exploring space, reinventing high speed rail, the possibility of inventing a warp drive, and putting a permanent human colony on Mars.