The few moments of silence came quickly to an end as the thunderous firing of the rocket's 27 engines startled the crowds that packed the coastline for miles and miles.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk pledged to one-up his rivals today, by fitting the Falcon Heavy with a cherry-red Tesla sports vehicle. SpaceX revealed last weekend that a mannequin wearing the company's new spacesuit would ride in the driver's seat of the electric sports vehicle. This marks either the first time that a motor vehicle was sent into space or the fourth, if you count the three Lunar Rovers carried on the last three Apollo lunar landing missions in the early 1970s.
Two side boosters will be released first, after which they will hopefully be redirected to landing sites in Florida so they can be refurbished and re-used. If SpaceX scrubs the launch Tuesday, the company will try again on Wednesday. Though the Roadster is headed out toward Mars, its trajectory is such that it has no chance of colliding with the Red Planet.
Above, you can see an animation of how the Falcon Heavy launch will play out, assuming everything goes as planned. "It's really the production rate of the center core".
Falcon Heavy will instead transport satellites. That stream will go live on YouTube at 1:30 PM, but of course, there's more to this event's schedule than just the launch itself.
"It is going to get whacked pretty hard", Musk said. "This is a test mission. If it just clears the pad and doesn't blow it to smithereens".
The Delta IV Heavy costs about $350 million per launch, according to United Launch Alliance. Much was at stake. The weather is favorable, but with all launches, delays are a possibility, especially with a rocket as big and complex as the Falcon Heavy.
The auto will be equipped with three cameras that, according to Musk, will provide "epic views" of the assent.
The Falcon Heavy rocket is essentially three Falcon 9s strapped together, which means there are three first-stage rocket boosters. A lot. The rocket could explode before launch, potentially destroying the launch pad, which could take up to a year to fix.
Now there are some great expectations revolving around SpaceX at the moment.
Elon Musk is about to test out his new creation: The Falcon Heavy.