CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s triple-barreled Falcon Heavy rocket rose into space today for the first time on a pillar of flame and clouds of exhaust, blending the serious and silly sides of spaceflight. And to top it all off, two of those three rocket barrels landed back on Earth intact after the launch.
More than 2 million people watched SpaceX’s live video stream, which showed the launch and the landings as well as hundreds of employees cheering at the company’s headquarters in California.
Liftoff from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Apollo moon rockets and space shuttles once began their trips into space, came at 3:45 p.m. ET (12:45 p.m. PT). The launch occurred more than two hours later than originally planned, due to upper-level winds that had to die down before the go-ahead was given.