BLAST OFF

SpaceX Launches First Ever Commercial Flight of Falcon Heavy

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launched Thursday from Florida in its first ever commercial mission, a show of muscle from billionaire and company co-founder Elon Musk, who hopes to land competitive military launch contracts, Reuters reports. The Heavy, the world's most powerful operational rocket, which stands 23 stories tall, took off from Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload. “T plus 33 seconds into flight, under the power of 5.1 million pounds of thrust, Falcon Heavy is headed to space,” SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said during a livestream of the launch. “The Falcons have landed,” Musk posted on Twitter, referring to the first successful recovery of Heavy’s three rocket boosters, which drew cheers from SpaceX engineers at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The boosters will be refurbished for another Falcon Heavy mission this summer, slated to carry a number of military and Air Force science satellites.