SpaceX successfully test-fired its Falcon Heavy rocket on the launchpad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Wednesday after more than two weeks of delays, including one caused by the federal government shutdown.
There has been no shortage of news about the Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX.
That will make the Falcon Heavy the most powerful rocket flying today, exceeding the European Ariane 5 launcher, the world's leader in liftoff power at 2.9 million pound of thrust from two segmented solid rocket boosters and a core engine.
When the first launch does happen, the Falcon Heavy's payload will be Musk's red Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity". In December, Musk announced the rocket would carry his own Tesla Roadster sports auto on a trajectory that would take it past the planet Mars.
He has also warned that there is a possibility the rocket could explode.
If successful the red sports vehicle will end up in a long, oval loop around the sun, travelling as far as the orbit of Mars.
Developing rockets like the Falcon Heavy is not a simple matter. Musk has previously said that if the rocket simply makes it far enough after launching to avoid damage to the pad, he would consider that a win.
Musk has said the payload "will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent". "You could see not just governments having space programs, but private entities doing more in space, and maybe universities", he says. It is expected to carry up to 64,000 kilograms to low-Earth orbit, more than twice the payload of the biggest now available vehicle, United Launch Alliance's (ULA's) Delta IV Heavy.
In 2011, Musk said he expected that the Heavy would have its first flight in 2014.
The Heavy has three rocket boosters at its base.
"When Falcon Heavy lifts off in 2018, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two", SpaceX notes on its website. Now he admits that putting together the Falcon Heavy proved more daunting than he initially thought.
Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, with the aim of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonisation of Mars.
Another tricky aspect is the large number of rocket engines.