- SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket into space.
- So far, everything has gone according to plan: two of the three boosters have landed back in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster is headed toward Mars orbit.
- Here are some of the best photos and moments from the launch.
We have liftoff.
SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket – the company’s biggest yet – into space on Tuesday.
Falcon Heavy left the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 3:45 p.m. ET after some initial delays. The rocket is carrying Elon Musk’s own midnight-cherry red Tesla Roadster out to Mars orbit, though its uppermost stage now has to coast through intense radiation fields around Earth’s magnetic Van Allen belt.
The successful liftoff of Falcon Heavy could disrupt the launch industry, since the system’s 134-foot-tall boosters can land themselves to be reused in future launches. Other rocket boosters on the market today are discarded after launch.
The event was a huge win for Musk and the future of private space exploration. Take a look at the highlights:
Amid cheers from SpaceX employees on the livestream, the rocket took off on a pillar of smoke.
The Falcon Heavy is propelled by 27 engines contained in three boosters — two on the sides, and one in the center under the payload.
The three boosters gave the rocket a lot of power — they’re capable of generating more than 5 million pounds of thrust.
After the ascent, the two side boosters detached successfully from the rocket, flipped around, and headed back down toward Florida.
The two bottom screens in this shot from the video stream show the boosters heading toward each of their landing sites.
A few seconds later, the re-usable boosters slowed themselves down and hit the ground.
They even stuck the landing.
Later, the center booster detached, leaving the Tesla Roadster, complete with a dummy driver named “Starman” wearing a SpaceX spacesuit, speeding toward Mars orbit.
Three cameras are attached to the Roadster, showing views of Starman as he heads out into space. The sign on the dashboard is a tribute to Musk’s favourite novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
SpaceX is broadcasting a live video feed from the Roadster if you’d like to see more of the journey.
You can re-watch the entire launch here.
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