Elon Musk's Spacex company has launched the most powerful rocket after the Saturn V for Apollo moon missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Having twice the capacity of the next powerful rocket, the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV, Heavy has the ability to lift nearly 64 metric tons into orbit - a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.
The Falcon Heavy was equipped with three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores, making 27 Merlin engines working together to create 5 million pounds of thrust.
It took off bringing a nearly indestructible disk carrying a digital copy of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction book series, Foundation, a plaque engraved with the names of SpaceX’s 6,000 employees, and Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster with a "Starman" mannequin wearing a spacesuit in it.
Following the launch, SpaceX accomplished a feat never before seen in space history: re-landing the rockets back on earth.
The two boosters touched down in tandem on landing zones 1 and 2 in Cape Canaveral; with the center core slamming down into the ocean because only one of three engines ignited during the landing, causing it to impact the Atlantic Ocean next to the barge at a speed of over 480 km/h.
With many people and fans gathering along the launch pad, the moment was also live-streamed from the Falcon Heavy Test Flight. It received more than 2.3 million concurrent views on YouTube, making it one of the most viewed live-stream videos on the platform.
“A private company just outperformed every government on earth,” said Greg Autry, a professor at the University of Southern California and a former NASA White House liaison. “This is bigger than anything Russia or China is doing. No one else is even close.”
This successful test flight means that SpaceX can move forward with Falcon Heavy missions for paying customers.
"It seems surreal to me," said Musk during a post-launch press conference. "Crazy things can come true."
U.S. President Donald Trump, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and rival Boeing Co. were among those congratulating SpaceX for its seemingly impossible feat.