SpaceX has successfully launched its history-making Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket.
The mightiest craft in half a century, which has 27 engines and is designed to make spaceflight easier and more affordable, left Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre around 15:45 EST on Tuesday afternoon.
The Falcon Heavy is so significant, partially because it underpins Elon Musk’s plan to set up a human colony on Mars. Its ability to carry a payload of 37,000lbs to the red planet will make it crucial in transporting goods and people from earth.
It is also likely to attract the private sector gigs that’ll help SpaceX to fund its grandest idea. The maximum low Earth-orbit payload is a stunning 140,700 lbs.
Being an Elon Musk company SpaceX, the first flight also has some unique cargo. It is carrying the Musk’s very own Tesla Roadster sportscar. That’s a dummy in a spacesuit you see behind the wheel, by the way.
The launch, at the time of writing, appears to have been a total success with at least two of the three first stage boosters already recovered.
Following liftoff there’ll be six hours of coasting before the engines reignite for a trans-Mars injection burn that’ll set it on a coarse to Mars.
The test flight, which has come at a cost of around $1 billion, was initially planned for 2013, but long delays and design changes have held it back. According to reports, over 100,000 spectators travelled to Cape Canaveral to watch the launch.
You can see the incredible broadcast below:
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