SpaceX’s big new rocket blasted off on its first test flight, carrying a red sports car aiming for an endless road trip past Mars. The Falcon Heavy rose from the same launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today, doubling the liftoff punch of its closest competitor.
Several scientists and researchers' reaction to SpaceX's launch of the most powerful rocket in operation today:
"View from SpaceX Launch Control. Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth."- SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk via Twitter
"Beautiful shots of Starman chilling in the Tesla Roadster. Absolutely incredible." - SpaceX engineer and launch commentator Michael Hammersley
"If people think we're in a race with the Chinese, this is our secret weapon: the entrepreneurship of people like Elon (Musk) and others like Jeff Bezos." - former Mars Czar Scott Hubbard of Stanford University
"It was awesome like a science fiction movie coming to reality. They nailed it."- former NASA deputy administrator and MIT astronautics professor Dava Newman
"It's really a major step forward in space exploration. It is a test flight, the beginnings of the long road you have to do to qualify to put folks on board." - former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe
"This is just a very monumental and very visual piece of evidence that shows how strong American industry is."- former NASA chief technology officer Bobby Braun of University of Colorado