Elon Musk's SpaceX sends world's most powerful rocket on first commercial flight

Elon Musk's SpaceX sends world's most powerful rocket on first commercial flight

Elon Musk's SpaceX sends world's most powerful rocket on first commercial flight

For the first time, SpaceX launched a communications satellite on its Falcon Heavy rocket Thursday, opening the door for future commercial and military payloads. The red Roadster - with a mannequin, dubbed Starman, likely still at the wheel - remains in a solar orbit stretching just past Mars.

The Falcon Heavy differs from the Falcon 9 rocket.

Humanity's most powerful rocket, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, had a successful second flight today, the company has announced.

"T plus 33 seconds into flight, under the power of 5.1 million pounds of thrust, Falcon Heavy is headed to space", SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said on a livestream.

The rocket is expected to be used primarily for United States military missions, and to launch spy satellites and hefty commercial telecom satellites. As usual, the live stream will include commentary from SpaceX staff, along with details about the mission and status of the spacecraft.

Roughly three minutes after clearing the pad, Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronized landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, sparking boisterous cheers from SpaceX engineers in the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters. That mission was more of a test than anything else, with head man Elon Musk deciding to send his own Tesla as the rocket's payload.

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Until SpaceX came along, rocket boosters were usually discarded in the ocean after satellite launches.

NASA's Saturn V rockets, used for the Apollo moon shots, are the all-time launch leaders so far in size and might. As with past launches, SpaceX livestreamed the launch; the video is available to watch any time below. The core booster landed two minutes later on an ocean platform hundreds of miles offshore. SpaceX is expected to attempt to land all three this week.

SpaceX plans to launch its next Falcon Heavy later this year on a mission for the U.S. Air Force.

The satellite is created to provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communications to customers in the Middle East.

Though Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch ultimately went off without a hitch, SpaceX will now have to repeat that success with the added risk of carrying a multimillion dollar satellite.

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