Elon Musk and SpaceX aren't done with Florida's Space Coast

The crowds are back. Now can the space industry build on the momentum?

SpaceX's autonomous spaceport drone ship, for ocean rocket landings.

The 23-storey-tall jumbo rocket, carrying a cherry red Tesla Roadster from the assembly line of Musk's electric vehicle company as a mock payload, thundered off its launchpad in billowing clouds of steam and rocket exhaust at 3:45 p.m (2045 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center.

Musk also confirmed that for Falcon Heavy missions, the rocket's two side boosters will not always return to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station like they did during last week's premiere launch. This will make it possible for both of the side boosters on Falcon Heavy to land safely at sea. While the Falcon 9 traffic is busier coming from Florida's Cape Canaveral than California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, Falcon Heavy could potentially launch from either location, as the base's Space Launch Complex 4 has also been redesigned to handle the bigger rocket's launches. All three of these ships are named after spacecraft featured in Iain M. Banks' series of "Culture" novels.

Of Course I Still Love You was scheduled to recover the third Falcon booster from last week's Falcon Heavy launch, but the booster missed its mark by about 300 feet crashing into the ocean at speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour. Regarding the damage to the ship, Musk said, "Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights".

The fix, he said, was "pretty obvious". Hispasat 30W-6, a commercial communications satellite, will be boosted to a geostationary transfer orbit.

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Eventually, Musk hopes that Falcon Heavy will be able to take humans to Mars, and is aiming to put a person on the red planet as soon as 2024.

In the meantime, SpaceX still has a full slate of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches on tap in 2018.

But as Musk emphasized before and after the launch, success was hardly a given.

Perhaps NASA should just get on the SpaceX waiting list for a new rocket. MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY Bart Stutts watches the rocket go out of site.

"It seems surreal to me", Musk said during a news conference after the launch. Elon Musk also revealed that the stereo in the auto is blasting Bowie's song Space Oddity.

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