World's most powerful rocket sent Tesla roadster to space
The rocket was carrying billionaire CEO Elon Musk's red Tesla roadster to an orbit near Mars.
Screams and cheers erupted at Cape Canaveral, Florida as the massive rocket fired its 27 engines and rumbled into the sky.
It took place on the same NASA launchpad that served as a base for the US missions to the Moon more than four decades ago.
The two side-boosters successfully separated from the centre main-stage rocket and flew back to Earth for safe simultaneous touchdowns on twin launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force station.
The centre booster was expected for a return landing on a drone ship floating at sea, but its fate is not yet known.
The launch had been delayed for more than two hours due to wind-shear conditions.
The successful test launch marked a key turning point in Mr Musk's privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, which stands to gain a new edge over the handful of rivals vying for lucrative contracts with NASA, satellite companies and the U.S. military. ■