SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket nails its maiden test flight

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Falcon Heavy is both more powerful and capable of lifting more weight than the biggest rockets offered by either United Launch Alliance (a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture) or Arianespace - at a fraction of the cost.

SpaceX successfully launched what is now the world's most powerful rocket Tuesday, a towering behemoth known as the Falcon Heavy that tore through the sky with the thundering force of 18 747 jetliners. Similar to what happened with European nations in the 15th and 16th centuries, competing to build faster and stronger ships to explore (and exploit) the "New World" and bring back riches, the focus is now aimed at outer space.

"Falcon Heavy opens up a new class of payload", Musk told reporters following Tuesday's launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Its sticker price is $90 million, less than one-tenth the estimated cost of NASA's Space Launch System megarocket in development for moon and Mars expeditions.

The bizarre spectacle also contained other elements of Musk's trademark mischevious sense of humour - the car's circuit board bore the message 'Made on earth by humans', while 'Don't Panic!', a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference, was stamped on the dashboard.

The ability to re-use rocket boosters could allow rockets to take off on a routine basis.

Watch the entire launch in under two minutes above.

The billionaire said he wanted to send the electric car to space because normal test flights are too "boring". But it's still Twitter, which means there was plenty of snark to go around.

"The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit".

These 100V and 200V GaN FET power supply solutions will be used in ferrite switch drivers, motor control circuits, heater control modules, embedded systems, 100V and 28V power conditioning and redundancy switching systems. The last thing I want to do is climb out of the thing.

"If people think we're in a race with the Chinese, this is our secret weapon: the entrepreneurship of people like Elon and others like Jeff Bezos", said Stanford University's G. Scott Hubbard, NASA's first Mars czar.

With the successful launch, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket flying today.

The car faces considerable speed bumps before settling into its intended orbit around the sun, an oval circle stretching from the orbit of Earth on one end to the orbit of Mars on the other.

According to CNBC, the launch was the most ambitious yet for Musk's space company, putting it at the top of a short list of available heavy lift rockets.

"Feels like the dawn of a new era of space exploration", tweeted former International Space Station crew member Tim Peake. SpaceX staff spoke of losing "the central core" as a live video feed from the barge cut out just seconds before the rocket was due to set down. Musk then pulled off something perhaps even more surprising - winning public praise from the White House.

Trump was vague, however, with details, financing or a calendar for sending men to the moon or the Red Planet.

Based on the previous generation of Falcon 9 rockets, the Heavy is in fact composed of three Falcon 9 boosters.

Of course, these issues don't affect my sense of excitement and wonder at watching the amazing launch. It's designed to carry up to 140,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit, or more than 37,000 pounds all the way to Mars.

"Space races are exciting", he said.

Late Tuesday, Musk said the final firing of the rocket's upper stage put his car on a more distant trajectory than anticipated.