Thousands traveled to the Space Coast to witness the 3:45 p.m. ET demonstration flight from Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A, jamming roads for hours after liftoff of the world's most powerful rocket. The date of the proposed flight would have coincided with the 50th anniversary of Nasa'sApollo 8 mission, which was the first human circumnavigation of the moon. "[The] third boom is from the fins near the forward end".
If the vehicle is successfully launched on an orbit out to Mars, SpaceX will demonstrate that Falcon Heavy is capable of sending a spaceship and supplies out to the red planet.
X The rocket, which launched a Tesla (TSLA) Roadster and a mannequin wearing SpaceX's new spacesuit, demonstrated a new maneuver that showed SpaceX can directly insert a payload into its final orbit, according to Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project and the director of Defense Budget Analysis at CSIS.
SpaceX has been launching, testing and refining the Falcon 9 since 2010, giving it more thrust and figuring out the best landing legs.
Can't get enough? Check out the 30-minute video, below, from SpaceX.
The company made the world take notice when it proved it can safely return first-stage rocket boosters to Earth with its Falcon 9 rocket, which the company has used for more than 40 missions dating back to 2012. He tweeted late on Tuesday night that the rocket's upper stage had made a successful final burn, sending the auto and its mannequin passenger out of Earth's orbit into an orbit around the Sun that brings it close to Mars. But the rocket carrying the vehicle seems to have overshot that trajectory and has put the Tesla in an orbit that extends out into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Musksaid at the conference that the launch went as "well as one could have hoped with the exception of centre core".
"While these are the levels we are focused on hitting and we have plans in place to achieve them, our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time".
But that was far from the Falcon Heavy's only achievement, and it certainly wasn't their loudest. "It would be a really huge downer if it blows up".
One quarter later, Musk says the company is "still a few levels deeper (in hell) than we'd like to be", but was on track to deliver 2500 vehicles by the end of March, and 5,000 by the end of Q2.
But this test flight wasn't just about jetting something big and expensive into space, it was also about bringing things back down to earth. We don't want to set expectations of perfection by any means.