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Falcon Heavy test flight success

(6 February 2018) SpaceX has successfully completed the test flight of its new Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.

Following lift off at 20:45 GMT from the Kennedy Space Centre the second stage was placed in a temporary Earth orbit and, after a six hour cruise phase, the second stage motor was fired for a third time placing the second stage in an orbit around the Sun which will take it past Mars and out as far as the asteroid belt.

Instead of carrying a dummy test mass, the launch carried a Tesla car driven by a dummy dressed in a SpaceX spacesuit.

After second stage separation the three boosters which make up the first stage of the Falcon Heavy returned to Earth. The two outer boosters safely returned to landing zones at Cape Canaveral, however, the central booster which was intended to land on a barge in the Atlantic ran out of fuel just before touch down and crashed into the ocean a few hundred metres from the barge, hitting the water at 500 km/hr.

falcon 1

(courtesy: SpaceX)

falcon 2

(courtesy: SpaceX)

falcon 3

(courtesy: SpaceX)

falcon 4

(courtesy: SpaceX)

falcon 5

(courtesy: SpaceX)

falcon 6

(courtesy: SpaceX)