SpaceX's big new rocket has blasted off on its first test flight, carrying a red sports car on an endless road trip past Mars. The Falcon Heavy rocket rose Tuesday from the same Florida launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon, per the AP. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today. The three boosters and 27 engines roared to life at Kennedy Space Center, as thousands jammed surrounding beaches, bridges, and roads to watch the rocket soar, delayed more than two hours by high wind.
Two of the boosters were recycled and programmed to return for a simultaneous touchdown at Cape Canaveral, while the third, brand new, set its sights on an ocean platform some 300 miles offshore. SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk owns the rocketing Tesla Roadster, which is shooting for a solar orbit that will reach all the way to Mars. As head of the electric carmaker Tesla, he combined his passions to add a dramatic flair to the Heavy's long-awaited inaugural flight. Musk previously said the auto would be in "deep space for a billion years or so." The Heavy is intended for massive satellites, like those used by the US military and major-league communication companies. Even before the test flight, customers were signed up.