Over the roar of its launch and the cheers of the more than 6,000 SpaceX employees who made it happen, the Falcon Heavy yesterday soared above Cape Canaveral, delivered a Tesla Roadster into low-Earth orbit, and landed two of its three boosters.
The entire event, lasting only a few minutes, was without a doubt one of the most jaw-dropping spectacles for the space industry in recent memory. For hours afterwards, SpaceX streamed a live feed of their "Starman" riding top-down in the Roadster with Earth through the windshield. There truly are not enough adjectives to describe this surreal scene. A bazillion posters will likely be made, lining the walls of space enthusiasts for decades to come. Yesterday's launch bore witness to not only the birth of a new space age, but also an iconic moment in human history.
"The imagery of it is something that is going to inspire people around the world," Musk said in a news conference with reporters yesterday. "I'm still tripping out about it."
Kids sum up what we're all thinking
While we've seen plenty of reactions from adults fist-pumping the air and cheering wildly as the Falcon Heavy left the pad, it's the ones featuring kids that truly have us excited for the future. Their wide eyes, huge smiles, and yes, dropped jaws, give hope to a new generation of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and passionate supporters of the space industry.
Below are a few of our favorites, starting with a toddler who can't get enough of shouting the word "ROCKET!" (Though you might want to turn your volume down a tad ... some of these kids are mighty excited.)
And then there are the kids (see top of file) who can't quite believe that two rockets are landing at the same time.
Meanwhile, students at Drakensberg Boys Choir School in South Africa, where SpaceX founder Elon Musk was born, pounded their desks and screamed in delight as the Falcon Heavy raced toward the heavens.
And these kids even dressed up for the launch, with a little help from their parents, who were also kind enough to provide snacks.
Thankfully for kids and adults alike, SpaceX is planning at least two more launches for later this year. After that, Musk says, it's really up to customers to determine the rate at which the world's most powerful rocket soars into the heavens.
"The great thing about Falcon Heavy is that it opens up a new class of payload," he told reporters. "It could launch more than twice as much payload as any other rocket in the world, so it’s up to customers what they might want to launch. But it can launch things direct to Pluto and beyond. No stop needed."
Keep smiling everyone and looking up. The future of spaceflight is truly nothing less than jaw-dropping.