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SPACE ODDITY

Photos: Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy rocket takes flight

By Johnny Simon

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched today in Cape Canaveral, Florida, a breakthrough for Elon Musks’s space venture. Standing as tall as a 20-story building, the Falcon Heavy is the largest rocket in the world.

Here’s what it looked like:

Eager observers lined up early this morning to get a prime viewing area along the beaches south of Cape Canaveral.

Reuters/Gregg Newton
Visitors queue up outside the Jetty Park entrance before sunrise to watch SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
Reuters/Gregg Newton
Visitors stake out spots near the fishing pier at Jetty Park and Cocoa Beach to watch SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 6.

At 3:45, the Falcon Heavy achieved liftoff:

Reuters/Joe Skipper
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Reuters/Joe Skipper
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Reuters/Joe Skipper
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX/YouTube
A still from the SpaceX livestream of the Falcon Heavy launch.

Almost as important as the launch itself was the safe return of the two side boosters to Earth.

SpaceX/YouTube
A still from the SpaceX livestream of the Falcon Heavy launch, showing the side boosters from the Falcon Heavy rocket returning to the landing pad.

Meanwhile, Musk’s Tesla Roadster is hurtling towards Mars’s orbit.

SpaceX/YouTube
A still from the SpaceX livestream of the Falcon Heavy launch.