SPACEX Successfully Launched Falcon Heavy Rocket Into Space

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 15:34

SPACEX launched the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket into space with the founder, Elon Musk’s, Tesla car onboard.

Though the Falcon Heavy’s outer cores successfully landed after launch, the middle core of SpaceX’s huge rocket missed the drone ship where it was supposed to land, a source told The Verge. SpaceX later confirmed The Verge’s reporting in a press conference.

The rocket left Kennedy Space Center in Florida shortly after 3.45pm EST (8.45pm GMT) with one of the billionaire’s cherry-red electric cars in the payload cargo.

The center core was only able to relight one of the three engines necessary to land, and so it hit the water at 300 miles per hour about 300 feet from the drone ship. As a result, two engines on the drone ship were taken out when it crashed, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a press call after the rocket launch. “[It] was enough to take out two thrusters and shower the deck with shrapnel,” he said.

Meanwhile, the upper stage seems to be doing just fine. After launch, Musk tweeted that it had successfully ignited its engine and raised its orbit as intended. Now, the upper stage will spend about six hours coasting through space — a move by SpaceX to demonstrate a tricky orbital maneuver for the US Air Force.

That coast will take the rocket through regions of intense radiation that surround Earth called the Van Allen belts, where it will be pelted by high-energy particles. If the vehicle is still operating as it should by then, the upper stage will do another engine burn, putting the car on its deep space path to Mars’ orbit.

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