The Latest: SpaceX launches big new rocket; lands 2 boosters

A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket stands ready for launch on pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. The Falcon Heavy scheduled to launch Tuesday afternoon, has three first-stage boosters, strapped together with 27 engines in all. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. The Falcon Heavy, has three first-stage boosters, strapped together with 27 engines in all. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
A mannequin “Starman” sits at the wheel of a Tesla Roadster in this photo posted on the Instagram account of Elon Musk, head of auto company Tesla and founder of the private space company SpaceX. The car will be on board when SpaceX launches its new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (Courtesy of Elon Musk/Instagram via AP)
A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket stands ready for launch on pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. The Falcon Heavy, scheduled to launch Tuesday afternoon, has three first-stage boosters, strapped together with 27 engines in all. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
In this image from video provided by SpaceX, two booster rockets land at Cape Canaveral, Fla., during the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (SpaceX via AP)
This Dec. 6, 2017 photo made available by SpaceX shows a Tesla car next to the fairing of a Falcon Heavy rocket in Cape Canaveral, Fla. For the Heavy's inaugural flight, the rocket will carry up Elon Musk's roadster. In addition to SpaceX, Musk runs the electric car maker Tesla. (SpaceX via AP)
A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket stands ready for launch on pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. The Falcon Heavy scheduled to launch Tuesday afternoon, has three first-stage boosters, strapped together with 27 engines in all. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
This image from video provided by SpaceX shows the company's spacesuit in Elon Musk's red Tesla sports car which was launched into space during the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (SpaceX via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Latest on SpaceX rocket launch (all times local):

8 p.m.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk says the center booster of the Falcon Heavy slammed into the Atlantic at 300 mph, missing the floating landing platform.

Musk says it hit the water with such force that shrapnel flew onto the droneship's deck and took out two engines.

Despite the loss, Musk reveled in Tuesday's successful launch of the powerful Falcon Heavy and the recovery of the two side boosters. He said watching the simultaneous side-by-side touchdowns of those two boosters at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was probably the most exciting thing he's ever seen.

If the cameras on the ocean platform were not wiped out, Musk says he'll try to salvage the video and add the images to his greatest bloopers' reel of exploding rockets.

4 p.m.

SpaceX has hit a rocket straight out of the park on the first test flight of its big new rocket.

The Falcon Heavy rocket blasted off Tuesday afternoon from the same Florida launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today. Its three boosters and 27 engines roared to life at Kennedy Space Center.

Not only did the rocket lift a red sports car into orbit — with a dummy "Starman" at the wheel — two of the three boosters came back and landed upright at Cape Canaveral. The 15-story boosters landed at the same time, side by side.

There was no immediate word on whether the center booster managed to touch down on a floating platform 300 miles offshore.

3:45 p.m.

SpaceX's big new rocket has blasted off on its first test flight, carrying a red sports car on an endless road trip past Mars.

The Falcon Heavy rocket rose Tuesday from the same Florida launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today.

The three boosters and 27 engines roared to life at Kennedy Space Center, where thousands gathered to watch the launch which had been delayed by high wind.

Two of the boosters are recycled and programmed to return for another touchdown on land. The third is brand new and has its sights on an ocean platform.

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk owns the rocketing Tesla Roadster, which is aiming for a solar orbit reaching Mars

1 p.m.

SpaceX's big new rocket is ready to blast off on its first test flight. But high wind will keep it on the launch pad just a little longer.

Potentially dangerous gusts in the upper atmosphere forced the company to delay Tuesday's launch of the Falcon Heavy by at least 1 ½ hours. Liftoff is now scheduled for sometime after 3 p.m. from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. That leaves less than an hour remaining in Tuesday's launch window. Otherwise, the test flight will slip to Wednesday.

At liftoff, the Heavy will become the world's most powerful rocket in use today.

Thousands have gathered at the space center, and surrounding beaches and parks, to watch the Heavy soar with a sports car as cargo.

6:46 a.m.

It's almost showtime for SpaceX's big new rocket with a cherry-red sports car on top.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is poised to blast off Tuesday afternoon from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

It's the long-awaited first test flight for the rocket. Once it soars, it will become the world's most powerful rocket in use today. The Heavy is equipped with three boosters and 27 engines designed to provide about 5 million pounds of thrust.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk has his Tesla Roadster on board. Musk — who also heads up the Tesla electric carmaker — says he wanted to add some dramatic flair. Usually there are things like steel or concrete slabs or mundane experiments on test flights. SpaceX is targeting a long, oval orbit around the sun for the car.

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