SpaceX on Tuesday launched the world’s most powerful operational rocket into space in a much-hyped demonstration mission deemed to have the potential to bring a revolution in the space industry.
The Falcon Heavy blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 3:45 p.m. EST (02:15am IST), carrying something just for fun: a red Tesla Roadster belonging to SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, Xinhua reported.
This was the same launchpad used for launching the Apollo mission to the Moon. SpaceX is expected to use NASA’s launchpad for future missions.
The rocket’s second stage will try to place the Roadster, playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity, into a Mars-adjacent orbit. “We estimate it’ll be in that orbit for several hundred million years, maybe even in excess of a billion years,” Musk told reporters during a media call.
The tech billionaire has repeatedly played down expectations for the launch, saying that the mission might end in explosion. “This is a test mission as I said there’s so much that can go wrong, so we don’t want to set expectations of perfection,” he said.
“I would consider it a win if it just clears the pad and doesn’t blow the pad to smithereens.” But so far everything has gone as planned, with the rocket’s two side boosters landing simultaneously back on ground about eight minutes after liftoff.
With inputs from agencies