SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Blasts Off

February 7, 2018

The private space company SpaceX launched its largest rocket yet Tuesday, sending a sports car into orbit around the sun.

The Falcon Heavy rocket blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on the same launch pad from which NASA's Apollo 11 lifted off in 1969 on the first mission that flew astronauts to the moon.

The rocket is equipped with three boosters and 27 engines designed to provide more than 2 million kilograms of thrust. If successful, it will be the most powerful rocket in use today, and the most powerful used since NASA's Saturn 5 rockets last carried astronauts to the moon 45 years ago.

The Falcon Heavy was first designed to send humans to the moon or Mars, but Musk said Monday it is now being considered as a carrier of equipment and supplies to deep space destinations.

While such test rockets usually use items like steel or concrete slabs as payload, a cherry red Tesla roadster electric sports car has been placed on top of the rocket.

With a mannequin "Starman" sitting at the wheel, the plan is for the car to be set in an orbit around the sun.

In a tweet last month, Musk said he loves the thought of a car driving apparently endlessly through space and, perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future.

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