SpaceX took historic steps having overcome several delays and successfully fired the Falcon Heavy, plus its impressive cargo, into outer-space.
The Falcon Heavy, which is billed as the most powerful rocket to launch since NASA’s Atlas V, hurtled into outer-space while loaded with a cherry red Tesla Roadster belonging to SpaceX owner Elon Musk.
The rocket was helped on its way to space by three booster rockets, which returned to Earth for use in another rocket launch.
Onlookers captured the moment two of Heavy Falcon’s three boosters returned to the ground successfully.
However, one landed in a cloud of smoke as it crashed back down to earth leaving its drone ship target covered in shrapnel.
A video by YouTube user Chilly Willy captures the moment a pair of triple sonic booms sounded out across Florida’s Space Coast as the boosters head toward the ground.
The sonic boom occurred because the boosters travelled faster than the speed of sound having detached from Heavy Falcon.
Tweeting after the launch, Elon Musk said: “Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring.
“Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.
“The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit.”
Musk uploaded an impressive diagram of the car’s trajectory, showing it missing Mars’ orbit and looping back round towards the inner-solar system before reaching Jupiter.
He tweeted: “Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt.”
On Wednesday, the US Air Force Space Command announced it had added the Tesla Roadster to the US sate little catalogue.
The SpaceX Tesla won’t come close to Mars for many months, according to Clifford V Johnson, a professor in physics and astronomy at USC.
He said: “Either way, they’ve shown they can get something to Mars or the vicinity of Mars, and that’s great.
“They’ve demonstrated that they can get something that big off the surface of the Earth into Earth orbit, recover most of the vehicle to make the whole thing really cheap.
“And then further extend the payload’s path beyond Earth’s orbit toward Mars.”