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SpaceX maiden flight exceeds expectations

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By Robert Hackwill
SpaceX maiden flight exceeds expectations

SpaceX's jumbo rocket has successfully blasted off on its first test flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

The 23-story tall Falcon Heavy is on an endless trip past Mars.

Billionaire executive Elon Musk had stated before the launch that just avoiding the whole thing blowing up on the launchpad would be counted a success, as the much-delayed maiden flight has been plagued with problems. Such an explosion would have wrecked the launch facilities for a whole year.

But it was a pitch-perfect launch, and not without some typical Musk whimsy, as his own flame-red Tesla sports car was used as a mock payload, sent into a virtually indefinite solar orbit.

The two side-boosters eventually separated from the centre main-stage rocket and flew back to Earth for a safe simultaneous touchdown on twin launch pads, a feat as spectacular as the launch itself.

The successful maiden flight makes the Falcon Heavy the world's most powerful existing rocket.