The Falcon Heavy, which has Elon Musk's personal Tesla on board, is the most powerful new American rocket.
SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy, World’s Most Powerful Rocket
The world’s most powerful new space rocket blasted into orbit on Tuesday afternoon on a trailblazing deep-space mission that Elon Musk, founder of the private aerospace company SpaceX, believes could spell “game over” for his commercial spaceflight rivals.
The Falcon Heavy, which will provide the United States a heavy-lift capability in space not seen since the Saturn V rockets of the Apollo era, made a flawless ascent through clear blue skies, with at least two of its three reusable boosters returning safely, the UKs Guardian reported.
The spectacular, flame-heavy launch was watched by an estimated half-million spectators who packed the beaches and other key vantage points around Florida’s space coast for the biggest fireworks show since the retirement of Nasa’s space shuttle fleet in 2011.
According to the Guardian Musk’s $100,000 cherry red Tesla Roadster sports car was also onboard.
Pictures of the car heading into space with the Earth below gave the triumphant launch a surreal quality. From there, it will journey on through a six-month, 400m-kilometre trip to a solar orbit, for more than a billion years.
“It seems surreal to me,” Musk said during a news conference after the launch.
According to the New York Times the launch of this turbocharged version of the workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which has been carrying cargo to space for years, marks an important milestone in spaceflight, the first time a rocket this powerful has been sent into space by a private company rather than a government space agency.
The success gives SpaceX momentum to begin developing even larger rockets, which could help fulfill Musk’s dream of sending people to Mars. To do that, he has described a new-generation rocket called B.F.R. (the B stands for big; the R for rocket) that might be ready to launch in the mid-2020s.