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SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch in pictures

09 February 2018

In a typically Musk-ian touch of whimsy, the Falcon's upper stage and test payload is Musk's own old $100,000 cherry red Tesla Roadster sports vehicle, and a dummy in its driver's seat called Starman rocking to David Bowie's Life on Mars. California-based automaker The Palo Alto is struggling to meet production targets for its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan.

It was the last picture the company captured of "Starman" soaring into space before the connection was lost. The company told analysts in a briefing call that it is set to make some capital investments towards the end of the year towards the next EV in the series, the Model Y. The adjusted loss eliminates one-time expenses, including stock-based compensation.

Musk previously said Falcon Heavy's success would be akin to placing it in a market "where one aircraft company has reusable aircraft, and all the other aircraft companies had aircraft that were single-use ..."

The triple-booster vehicle - essentially three standard SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicles strapped together - lifted off yesterday at 3:45 p.m. ET from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the same spot from which numerous NASA Space Shuttle and Apollo Moon missions were launched. It is reportedly leading to asteroid belt beyond the orbit of Mars. Tesla's shares are also in the stratosphere, up 8 percent from the start of this year.

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But Musk was more interested in talking about what SpaceX will build next.

If you were to ask us prior to 6 February 2018 if an image of an automobile in space was real, we'd reply, with nearly no hesitation, that the photograph was likely a fake.

For this experimental and uncertain mission, however, he decided on a much smaller and whimsical payload - his old cherry-red Tesla sports auto.

"What we can say with confidence is that we are taking many actions to systematically address bottlenecks and add capacity in places like the battery module line where we have experienced constraints, and these actions should result in our production rate significantly increasing during the rest of Q1 and through Q2". S. automaker, just behind, which had net revenue of $145.6 billion in 2017.

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- Tesla expects to send one of its EVs on an autonomous coast-to-coast road trip in the U.S. in three to six months.

Musk said at the conference that the launch went as "well as one could have hoped with the exception of centre core". Tesla burned through $3.4 billion a year ago. (That will make the range from Model S, 3, X and Y). "It's just a matter of time".

Musk himself stoked that talk by saying, five years ago, that he wanted to stay with Tesla through the introduction of the Model 3. Tesla also said reservations for the auto remain "stable" despite the delays, but it didn't give a total. The price tag is $250,000 and there's a waiting list to buy them.

Refreshingly, on Tesla's Q4 earnings call Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk was contrite, and transparent about the cause of the delay.

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If you're Elon Musk, you up the ante. If it does, the package could vault him into the ranks of the world's richest people. "I'm in the latter camp", tweeted Ryan McCaffrey, who does a Tesla-focused podcast. "So we kind of tabled the Crew Dragon on Falcon Heavy and focusing our energies on BFR".