US entrepreneur Elon Musk launched his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the Saturn V flew the first humans to the moon. An estimated 100,000 people traveled here to watch the Falcon Heavy power up and rise into the sky.
The Falcon Heavy, which will provide the United States a heavy-lift capability in space not seen since the Saturn V rockets of the Apollo era, made a flawless ascent through clear blue skies, with at least two of its three reusable boosters returning safely to earth.
National Geographic just posted some incredible behind-the-scenes footage of the launch, capturing everything from about 15 seconds prior to takeoff to his moment of realization that the mission was a huge success. Not only did they manage a picture-perfect launch, but they also recovered two of three rocket cores in a jaw-droppingly beautiful (simultaneous!) controlled landing.
This launch was the culmination of many, many years of work on SpaceX’s part — but still, no one could say with absolute certainty what would happen. The night before the launch, Elon told reporters that he’d “just be happy if it clears the pad and doesn’t blow the pad to smithereens” — and you can see just how happy he really was in the video below: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/10/heres-a-video-of-elon-musk-watching-the-falcon-heavy-take-off/