SpaceX test flight blasts off after delay

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Alex Crescenti | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 6, 2018

Photo: SpaceX / MGN

Tallahassee, Fla (WCTV) -- The SpaceX rocket launch excited many in Tallahassee, hundreds of miles away from Cape Canaveral.

People at the Challenger Learning Center took in today's huge milestone. Employees at the center view it as a tremendous step in space exploration and in the private space industry. They point out that the government is now not the only organization that can send people into outer space.

The incredible difficulty of Tuesday's launch and landing is what makes the occasion that much more compelling, and employees hope public interest in space exploration is reinvigorated.

"May even serve to reignite the space race. Get us, instead of going racing to the moon, we're now racing to Mars. Some of the spin offs that come from the space program have tremendous benefits to society," said Clay Tomlinson, the Coordinator of Educational Programs.

They also look at this as a stepping stone to launch astronauts from the United States again.

By: Associated Press
February 6, 2018

3:45 p.m.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- 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. 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, where thousands gathered to watch the launch which had been delayed by high wind.

Two of the boosters are recycled and programmed to return for another touchdown on land. The third is brand new and has its sights on an ocean platform.

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk owns the rocketing Tesla Roadster, which is aiming for a solar orbit reaching Mars

A video of the launch can be seen at the bottom of this story.

1 p.m.

SpaceX's big new rocket is ready to blast off on its first test flight. But high wind will keep it on the launch pad just a little longer.

Potentially dangerous gusts in the upper atmosphere forced the company to delay Tuesday's launch of the Falcon Heavy by at least 1 1/2 hours. Liftoff is now scheduled for sometime after 3 p.m. from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. That leaves less than an hour remaining in Tuesday's launch window. Otherwise, the test flight will slip to Wednesday.

At liftoff, the Heavy will become the world's most powerful rocket in use today.

Thousands have gathered at the space center, and surrounding beaches and parks, to watch the Heavy soar with a sports car as cargo.

6:46 a.m.

It's almost showtime for SpaceX's big new rocket with a cherry-red sports car on top.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is poised to blast off Tuesday afternoon from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

It's the long-awaited first test flight for the rocket. Once it soars, it will become the world's most powerful rocket in use today. The Heavy is equipped with three boosters and 27 engines designed to provide about 5 million pounds of thrust.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk has his Tesla Roadster on board. Musk -- who also heads up the Tesla electric carmaker -- says he wanted to add some dramatic flair. Usually there are things like steel or concrete slabs or mundane experiments on test flights. SpaceX is targeting a long, oval orbit around the sun for the car.

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