SpaceX makes history in monumental launch

With a swift countdown and millions watching, SpaceX, the space exploration startup helmed by Tesla co-founder, Elon Musk, made history, launching a cherry-red Tesla Roadster into space using reusable rockets.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

According to SpaceX, the rocket’s first stage was composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately 18 commercial jet airliners. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit.

The company focus is to colonize Mars through reusable rockets. This speeds up production time and reduces the amount of “space junk.” This launch was another step towards completing their goal. The rocket utilized three reusable engines to launch it into space. Of the three, two successfully landed back on land while the third missed its target and crashed into the ocean.

The added effect of launching a Tesla revitalized the appeal of watching rocket launches, blending science and imagination. According to the verge.com, the car included touches such as a “Made on Earth by Humans” printed on a circuit board and a “Don’t Panic” message on the dashboard. The car also included a spacesuit-wearing dummy with its left arm nonchalantly draped over the car door and David Bowie blasting on the speakers.

The launch was produced by SpaceX and brought to reality by its owner, Musk. Musk had been hoping for the launch to go successfully, however, he did not fully believe it would go as planned.

“Crazy things can come true,” Musk said in a press conference after the launch. “I didn’t really think this would work — when I see the rocket lift up, I see a thousand things that could not work, and it’s amazing when they do.”