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Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Watch Elon Musk's response to Falcon Heavy takeoff

Watch Elon Musk's response to Falcon Heavy takeoff

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, which was launched to orbit through SpaceX's most powerful rocket to date, the Falcon Heavy, is now heading further into space at a blistering 12 kilometers per second relative to Earth.

That core booster, which was expected to land offshore on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You", crashed when two of three engines did not fire during a final landing burn, Musk told reporters after the launch. For that, it is building a new drone ship that will join two other SpaceX drone ships now floating on the Space Coast.

The Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy would continue to bring in more revenue for SpaceX, but for the company's deep space and lunar missions, SpaceX is now looking at the BFR, a new-generation rocket launch system.

Musk also said a third floating platform, which the company calls a drone ship, is under construction to aid in first-stage recoveries for Falcon 9 and "dual ocean landings" for future Falcon Heavy side boosters.

"Dummy payload from first launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle consisting of a standard Tesla Roadster automobile and a space-suit wearing mannequin nicknamed Starman", NASA's official description of the Roadster.

After the Falcon Heavy launch, from Kennedy Space Center, the rocket's the rocket's center core missed the Of Course I Still Love You ship by about 300 feet, but the force created by its 300 miles per hour water impact damaged the ship's two engines. Musk tweeted, "Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights", Musk wrote. Some eight minutes after launch Tuesday, the two side boosters set down in near synchrony on two landing pads at Cape Canaveral. "Fix is pretty obvious".

SpaceX is confident it can keep recovering boosters from Falcon Heavy launches.

SpaceX's secret Falcon Heavy payload is known as Arch 1.2, and it contains Issac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, a sci-fi series that discusses the preservation of humankind - a relevant topic. SpaceX has successfully landed multiple Falcon 9 rockets on the ship in the past. It has many private-sector uses, including communications satellites.

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