Setting the bar for future space launches, the SpaceX blasted off its highly anticipated maiden test flight - the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday.
The three boosters and 27 engines roared to life at Kennedy Space Center, as thousands watched from surrounding beaches, bridges and roads, jamming the highways in scenes unmatched since NASA's last space shuttle flight.
The launch, so powerful that it shook the walls of the press trailer at the complex, was conducted from the same site used by NASA's towering Saturn 5 rockets to carry Apollo missions to the moon more than 40 years ago. The car and its mannequin driver (in working SpaceX spacesuit) launched yesterday atop the Falcon Heavy rocket will eventually escape Earth orbit and travel outwards through the solar system - but not in a hurry.
The ability to re-use rocket boosters could allow rockets to take off on a routine basis.
Other SpaceX competitors include Planetary Resources, a company that seeks to mine asteroids for natural resources; Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which aims to provide affordable space tourism; and Moon Express, a Florida-based company that wants build a business transporting people to and from the moon.
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'Er, this is the GCU Arbitrary - you're not going to believe what they've done this time...' Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth.
No one had more to be giddy about today than Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX.
"Most of our engineering resources will be dedicated to BFR and so I think that will make things go quite quickly", Musk said. It smashed into the sea, damaging two thrusters on the barge it was supposed to land on, and showered the platform with shrapnel.
"I think it's going to encourage other companies and countries to say, 'Hey, if SpaceX, which is a commercial company, and it can do this, and nobody paid for Falcon Heavy, it was paid with internal funds, ' then they could do it, too". Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is building a massive rocket called New Glenn after former astronaut John Glenn.
Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payloads to orbit.
The center booster rocket, which SpaceX had predicted was less likely to be salvaged, slammed into the Atlantic at about 300 miles per hour (483 kph), showering the deck of the nearby drone landing vessel and destroying two of the ship's thrusters, Musk told a post-launch news conference.
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Mike launched a GoFundMe campaign claiming he was "on an adventure to launch myself into space with a homemade rocket". SpaceX has said it aspires to send missions to Mars in the coming years.
Then, capitalizing on cost-cutting reusable rocket technology pioneered by SpaceX, the two side boosters flew themselves back to Earth for safe simultaneous touchdowns on twin landing pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station about eight minutes after launch. He's in charge of the carmaker as well as the private space company.
And Musk's Roadster became the fastest car ever, hurtling off the planet and zooming away on a route that will now take it all the way to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Unlike most rockets out there, the Falcon Heavy receives no government funding.
Has anyone seen the head of ULA recently? All that costs money, which Tesla is burning through at a fast clip.
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