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World’s Most Powerful Operational Rocket Launches from KSC

posted Feb 12, 2018, 5:06 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Korey Alder, Co Editor-in-Chief

Posted February 12th, 2018

Last Tuesday, the second most powerful rocket ever built was launched from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. The mission was a test flight of SpaceX’s long-awaited Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. The rocket is capable of lifting 70.3 tons of payload to LEO, more than twice the max payload to LEO of the runner-up, the Delta IV Heavy. This makes it the most powerful rocket operational in the world and is second in thrust only to the now-unused Saturn V, which took the Apollo missions to the moon. What makes this vehicle even more impressive, however, is its ability to return all three first-stage boosters to the ground under their own power, landing them upright back at the launch site or on a barge in the ocean. With this launch, both side boosters returned safely to the landing site, though the center booster failed in its landing. The rocket received much attention because of its unusual payload: a Tesla Roadster. SpaceX founder Elon Musk decided to use the Tesla for the test flight, avoiding the risk of damaging an expensive satellite or research payload. The car is currently traveling on a course past Mars and out towards the asteroid belt. SpaceX hopes this launch will be the first of many of its Falcon Heavy platform, eventually paving the way for routine manned flights to the Moon and Mars. See some beautiful photos and videos of the launch here: