Elon Musk’s super-rocket from SpaceX has taken flight and overshot Mars’ orbit, going further out into the solar system than originally planned.

Just hours after Tuesday’s spectacular launch from Florida of Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful space rocket, the billionaire founder of the private spaceflight company SpaceX admitted Starman had been a little heavy on the gas and would travel well beyond the intended target of Mars.

“Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt,” Musk said in a tweet that seemed to confirm the final destination of the mission had changed.

The rocket was supposed to have one final engine burn before launching the car out into its final orbit, but it appears the engine was a little too strong. The force of the rocket has shocked and impressed planetary scientists.

Falcon Heavy – Trajectory

After launch, the Tesla cruised through space for a good six hours. This “coast” phase was meant to show off a special orbital maneuver for the US Air Force. Then the rocket completed one final engine burn in space and put the car on its final orbit. It looks like that burn might have happened somewhere over Southern California, as some people in the area started reporting sightings of the rocket igniting in the night sky after 9:30PM ET on Tuesday.

“We’re looking at the issue. The centre core obviously didn’t land on the drone ship,” – Musk

South African-born Musk, the billionaire former CEO of the online money transfer company PayPal, said he had invested more than half a billion dollars to get Falcon Heavy off the ground and hoped the success of its first flight would lead to more competition with private spaceflight rivals, including Blue Origin, owned by the Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos.

The current private rockets aren’t nearly as capable as rockets we had in the 60s, although more cost effective. The BFR that is coming will be as good as the Saturn V, which did the original lunar landings.

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