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Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster bound for asteroid belt after Falcon Heavy launch

08 February 2018

The 37-word exchange between the two billionaire businessmen is a step forward in their shaky relationship.

In the near term, this should enable some cheaper military launches, and might also allow Nasa to conduct more frequent research missions into deep space.

About two minutes into the flight, the two side boosters peeled away from the centre core and made their way back toward Earth for an upright landing. 747 jumbo jets, climbed into clear skies at 3:45 p.m local time amid an enormous orange plume and thunderous vibrations.

SpaceX's big new rocket blasted off on Tuesday on its first test flight, carrying a red electric sports auto aiming for an endless road trip past Mars.

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Loaded with Musk's red Tesla and a mannequin in a spacesuit, the monster rocket's historic test voyage captured the world's imagination. At a press conference yesterday, he prepared us all for the inevitable shutdown of the most strangely fascinating live stream since Puddle Watch. "Crazy things come true".

"Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt", Musk said in his Instagram post.

While the Falcon Heavy's initial performance appeared, by all accounts, to have been near flawless, it remained to be seen whether the upper stage of the vehicle and its payload would survive a six-hour "cruise" phase to high Earth orbit through the planet's radiation belts. Its 2.26 million kilograms of thrust are the most since the Saturn V used for Apollo moon missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Crew Dragon will launch on a Falcon 9, the rocket SpaceX has flown since 2010. "With the planned ramp of both Model 3 and our energy storage products, our rate of revenue growth this year is poised to significantly exceed last year's growth rate", the Palo Alto-based company said in its quarterly update released Wednesday. "This is bigger than anything Russian Federation or China is doing".

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The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 6, 2018, on its demonstration mission.

But hundreds of miles offshore, the middle booster missed the "drone ship" that was its landing target and hit the Atlantic Ocean at about 300 mph. According to the company, it will cost just $90 million per launch, a fraction of the price of similar heavy-lift rockets. It would also take a much bigger rocket that he's calling the BFR, or the Big Falcon Rocket.

If it survives the swarming asteroid belt, the vehicle and its mannequin occupant "Starman" are expected to continue orbiting for millions, if not billions, of years.

Musk said the Model 3 production hell resulted from the company being a little bit overconfident, and a little too complacent about the company's ability to make batteries.

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But that doesn't mean Falcon Heavy will become a distant memory.

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster bound for asteroid belt after Falcon Heavy launch