SpaceX successfully launches world's most powerful rocket

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SpaceX's big new rocket has blasted off on its first test flight, carrying a red sports auto on an endless road trip past Mars.

Known as the Falcon Heavy, the new projectile has 27 engines generating five million pounds (2.26 million kg) of thrust, making it the most powerful rocket ever built by a private company.

While one of Elon Musk's companies is celebrating after launching the world's most powerful rocket into space, another company is fighting for liftoff back on Earth.

There was a small blunder, however, as the third burn caused the second stage to extend its orbit past Mars, and toward the asteroid belt.

Astronomers have caught a glimpse of Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster as it travels further and further through space.

Musk's electric vehicle has a spacesuit-clad dummy, called "Starman", in the driver's seat, plus a suite of video cameras. Musk doesn't plan to fly people on the Heavy, but is working on an even bigger rocket for deep-space crews. The vehicle would at times "come extremely close to Mars", spokesman John Taylor said before the Falcon Heavy launch. Usually there are things like steel or concrete slabs or mundane experiments on test flights.

In principle, the spacecraft could then decelerate once it reached Mars (obliterating the elliptical orbit), and allow itself to be captured by the Martian gravity into a more circular orbit. You can't just launch a sports vehicle into space, with a spacesuit-clad dummy behind the wheel, and not expect the internet to make memes.

The Falcon Heavy has many functions, including its ability to bring cargo to the worldwide space station.

Not since 1977, when NASA launched the Voyager I probe with two "Golden Records" - phonographic albums containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth for any intelligent extraterrestrial life with a record player - has a cultural artifact sparked such interest.

Falcon Heavy the world's most powerful rocket launches successfully

In the near future, "most of our engineering resources will be dedicated to BFR, and I think that will make things go quite quickly", he said.

As has been said, "if you like sausage and respect the law, you should watch neither being made - and to some degree that is true of a production ramp", Musk said.

Carroll further said that if Musk took care of that and deflating the tires, there's nothing left in the convertible to pop in a vacuum.

Mars is driving all of Musk's space efforts.

This part of the launch was considered a success, with two of the three boosters returning to Earth in controlled landings, touching ground virtually at the same time.

The president of the Mars Society, a space advocacy group intent on exploring and settling Mars, cheered SpaceX's achievement — and reduced price.

Thanks to Mike Killian for letting us use his awesome launch pics.

Oppenheimer, one of Tesla's more optimistic research shops, says the company continues to "wade through the weeds" while production delays remain. As an example of his eccentricity, he once sent a wheel of Le Brouere cheese into space during the maiden flight of SpaceX's first Dragon capsule.


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