After several delays due to dangerous weather conditions, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launched today with just fifteen minutes to spare before its launch window closed.
On Tuesday, February 6 at 12:45pm PT/3:45pm ET/ 8:45pm GMT, or 6:45am AEST on Wednesday, February 7, the Falcon Heavy rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida and hit supersonic speed with loud cheering by the SpaceX team, within a minute.
At the 2 minute 30 second mark, the rocket's two side boosters shut down and successfully separated from the spacecraft, with Earth’s atmosphere already visible in the background. At 3 minute 15 seconds, and the main engine was cut off and released from the craft with David Bowie’s Life on Mars playing in the background.
Musk’s Tesla Roadster payload was successfully launched out of the craft into its elliptical orbit between Earth and Mars at four minutes. SpaceX’s spaceman is projected to reach Mars in about six months.
Within eight minutes, the two side boosters had successfully landed directly on their target launch pad. The primary center core, meanwhile, failed to land on the drone ship it was intended to touch down on, missing it by about 100 meters and coming in at about 300mph.
The three reusable cores of the craft will separate from the main module which will contain Musk’s car, and after launch will return to earth, shows the animation.
The cameras on the vehicle will provide 'epic views' as it travels to Mars, Musk had assured on Monday.
The Falcon Heavy is essentially three of SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 vehicles strapped together. Industry experts say that if the mission becomes a success, it will be a game-changer because of its potential to propel the California-based company to the very forefront of the modern day space race.