Los Angeles Times

In giant step for private space industry, SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy rocket

In a historic first, SpaceX launched the world's most powerful operational rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday. By nailing the giant rocket's first flight, and landing its two side boosters on the ground, the Hawthorne, Calif., company set the stage for faster and cheaper launches of satellites - particularly lucrative national security satellites and other cargo.

The test payload for the demonstration mission was SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk's midnight cherry Tesla Roadster. The car was shown by remote camera separating from the rocket and heading out toward Mars, a dummy "Starman" behind the wheel, wearing a SpaceX-designed spacesuit that will eventually be worn by astronauts riding in

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