SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, the world's most powerful, soars into orbit

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, the world's most powerful, soars into orbit

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday on its initial test flight, marking another coup for founder Elon Musk. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit.

"Wow, did you guys see that?"

There was also "A little something special for our hard-working SpaceX team", Lyons said.

"Fantastic - the booster rocket landings were synchronised perfection - best thing I've seen in ages - thank you", tweeted a thrilled watcher.

The Falcon Heavy will be carrying a cherry red Tesla roadster as its payload in the nose cone, and inside will be a dummy wearing a SpaceX designed spacesuit, while David Bowie's 'Life on Mars?' plays on the stereo.

"It actually really doesn't look real, it's insane", Musk can be heard saying.

A shot of "Starman" piloting the Roadster from an animation released by SpaceX.

Also on board in a protected storage unit is Isaac Asimov's science fiction series, "Foundation". Both side boosters landed perfectly. This landing is yet to be confirmed and onlookers are anxiously waiting for news. "HUGE congrats to the @SpaceX team on your maiden flight!". The third core stage was programmed to land on a droneship at sea.

The Falcon Heavy, launched from Florida's Space Coast, tore through the sky with the force of 18,747 jetliners, in the first time a privately financed rocket has ever attempted to boost out of the Earth's orbit. Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot congratulated SpaceX and called it a "tremendous accomplishment".

"This powerful vehicle could open up entirely new types of business for SpaceX: launching heavy national security satellites or even sending large modules or people into deep space", as The Verge's Loren Grush writes.

Boisterous cheering could be heard from SpaceX workers at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, where a livestream feed of the event originated.

"Congrats to everyone there!"

Shortly before 9pm last night Falcon Heavy lifted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral - the same pad from where NASA first sent men to the Moon nearly five decades ago.

Musk previously said one of the most critical points of the flight would come as two side boosters separated from the central rocket within three minutes of launch. It had a liftoff thrust of 7.6 million pounds and could carry 260,000 pounds into space.

The rocket will use three nine-engine boosters to launch itself out of Earth's gravity.

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