SpaceX Has Successful Launch for Falcon Heavy

History was made again along Florida's Space Coast Tuesday afternoon, as SpaceX successfully launched the first Falcon Heavy rocket.

Lift-off was delayed until late in the launch window because of high upper-level winds at the launch site.

The Falcon Heavy launched from Pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center, the same pad that took people to the moon in 1969.

Shortly after lift-off, the two outboard boosters for the Falcon Heavy returned to the Cape, making soft landings at designated spots.

The center core stage was directed to land on an autonomous drone ship roughly 300 miles off the Florida coast.

SpaceX officials lost contact with the center core as it was making its landing, so it was not immediately known if the booster survived. 

But, even if the center core failed to make its soft landing, the mission is a compendium of firsts and one that sets the bar at a new height for future flights.

Test launches usually carry what is called a mass simulator, objects meant to simulate the mass of a real payload. Those are usually bricks or metal ingots.

In the case of the Falcon Heavy, the mass simulator was a Tesla Roadster, colored cherry red, with a space-suited mannequin in the driver's seat.

According to a tweet from Musk, the mannequin is named Starman. He and the Roadster are headed toward a cycling orbit between Earth and Mars ... and they'll be staying in that orbit for roughly the next billion years.

The launch was a magnet for crowds at the space center, with space-related celebrities cheering it on.

One person in attendance was  actor Harrison Ford, best known for his portrayal of Han Solo in the Star Wars motion picture series.

Also on hand was Buzz Aldrin, of Apollo XI moonwalking fame.

Aldrin tweeted that he was glad to have a good seat for more history at a place where history is frequently made.


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