SpaceX has successfully launched their new Falcon Heavy rocket! This was the massive rocket’s first test launch, and Elon Musk had given it a 50/50 chance of blowing up. But the launch was literally picture perfect, and rocket succeeded not only in delivering its cargo into orbit, but also managed to land two its two booster rockets back down to the launch pad.
The Falcon Heavy is now the largest operating rocket in the world. It’s bigger than the Delta IV Heavy, the Ariane V, the Atlas V, and even the former space shuttle (as far as cargo capacity). The Saturn V was larger, as will be the upcoming SLS rocket, but for now, the Falcon Heavy is the heavy weight champion, with a payload capacity of 60 tons — nearly 3x more than all current operating rockets. Not only that, but it can deliver its payload out of Earth orbit to deep space.
If that wasn’t awesome enough, the test rocket deployed Elon’s own cherry red Tesla roadster in its third stage, complete with a dummy in a SpaceX space suit, and playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from its radio. The car is headed out past Mars orbit to the asteroid belt, where (if it doesn’t get smashed by an asteroid) will enter an elliptic orbit around the sun, to forever orbit our solar system — a veritable space oddity if there ever was one.
Here’s the video of the launch. Keep watching through to the end to see the two boosters land.
And here’s the Tesla roadster in space. It’s unreal.
And here’s a nice CBS news coverage too.