SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy, the world's most powerful rocket
SpaceX successfully launched the worlds most powerful rocket, a towering behemoth known as the Falcon Heavy. It tore through the sky with the thundering force of 18 Boeing 747 jetliners. Lifting off at 3.45 p.m., on Tuesday from the same launch-pad that sent the crew of Apollo 11 to the moon, the rocket sent up a mountain-sized plume of smoke and a rattling roar across Florida's Space Coast, where thousands gathered to watch.
The maiden flight also marked the first time a privately financed venture ever attempted to launch a rocket so powerful that it was capable of hoisting a payload out of Earth's orbit. As a promotional stunt, SpaceX founder Elon Musk loaded the Falcon Heavy with his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster carrying a spacesuit-clad mannequin named "Starman" in the driver's seat.
Musk said he planned to send the convertible, built by another one of his companies, into an orbit around the sun that would take it near Mars. "I'm still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seemed surreal to me," he said to the media.
"I had an image of a giant explosion on the pad with a wheel bouncing down the road and the Tesla logo landing somewhere. But fortunately that's not what happened. The mission seemed to have gone as well as possible," he added.