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Liftoff! All Eyes On Elon Musk As Falcon Heavy Performs Flawlessly During Maiden Launch … With Elon’s Tesla Roadster Inside (+ Pics From Space)

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy flew for the first time today and made a perfect launch. Both auxiliary rockets returned successfully to earth to be reused at a later date. Inside the rocket, Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster is on its way to Mars, complete with a mannequin driving named Starman.

Forget Donald Trump. Forget Brexit, Syria, fake news, and border walls. Today, February 6, 2018, the eyes of the world are on Elon Musk and the successful launch of the first Falcon Heavy rocket, which has Elon’s personal Tesla Roadster inside.

Ever the showman, Musk had a dummy dressed in a Starman space suit installed behind the wheel of the car, which has three cameras mounted to it so it can beam back live video of its journey to Mars and back. Prior to the launch, SpaceX put this simulation of the launch on YouTube.

The Falcon Heavy is twice as powerful as any rocket in the world today and consists basically of three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together to make one really, really big launch vehicle. SpaceX is now working on the next-generation rocket, called the Big Falcon Rocket or BFR. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what BFR really stands for. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) When ready, it will have over a million pounds of thrust and will be the vehicle that propels future Mars missions into orbit.

After a brief delay due to high winds aloft, the rocket lifted off Tuesday afternoon in a perfect launch from Florida’s Space Coast. A short while later, the two auxiliary rockets made perfect three-point landings so they can be reused later — a feat once believed unthinkable but now almost routine as SpaceX and Musk push back the boundaries of space travel.

Near 5:00 pm EST, Musk tweeted live views from inside the cockpit. Notice the “Don’t Panic” sign on the dashboard of the Tesla Roadster as Starman gazes out over the earth below.

The spacecraft will park for 5 hours before being sent on its way toward a rendezvous with the Red Planet several months from now. Musk says there is a “tiny” chance the cockpit with the Tesla Roadster inside will crash into Mars, but if not, it will return to Earth to be welcomed as the most famous automobile in history. Below is a graphic representation of the entire flight, courtesy of SpaceX.


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