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How the world reacted to Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch

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Media captionSpaceX launches world’s most powerful rocket

Tuesday’s launch of the world’s most powerful rocket – the Falcon Heavy – has garnered plenty of reaction, from awe to some gentle ribbing.

The behemoth lifted off successfully from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The vehicle was designed by US company SpaceX, and can put up to a maximum of 64 tonnes in low-Earth orbit.

How the world reacted to Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch
How the world reacted to Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch

SpaceX CEO and chief designer, Elon Musk, says this is more than double that of the world’s next most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy.

The launch generated a huge amount of interest online, and Mr Musk shared regular updates with his 18.9m followers.

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Social media users waited with anticipation as the scheduled launch time approached.

Some counted down as the rocket readied its 27 engines and three boosters and prepared to blast off from Cape Canaveral.

Skip Twitter post by @ya5hw4nth

T minus 2. Here we GO! #SpaceX#spacexlaunch

— Yashwanth (@ya5hw4nth) February 6, 2018

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Skip Twitter post by @DiplexHeated

T minus 1 minute. Godspeed Falcon Heavy! #SpaceX

— DiplexHeated (@DiplexHeated) February 6, 2018

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Skip Twitter post by @tanyaofmars

T-minus 30 seconds!!! GO FOR LAUNCH!#FalconHeavy#SpaceX#FalconHeavyLaunch

— Tanya Harrison (@tanyaofmars) February 6, 2018

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Mr Musk said the challenges of developing the new rocket meant the chances of a successful first outing might be only 50-50.

But the 70m vehicle lifted clear of its pad without incident to soar high over the Atlantic Ocean.

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I’m shook. Literally. It shook the ground. #FalconHeavy#SPACEXpic.twitter.com/Q77lcSUNNE

— Miriam Kramer (@mirikramer) February 6, 2018

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Some spectators were lucky enough to witness the launch up close. At Cocoa Beach, crowds gathered for a prime view.

Skip Twitter post by @ToastyFalcon9

Cocoa Beach is absolutely packed to the brim. No room on the pier anymore. I’m standing directly under it. Thousands of others are here, cameras, tripods, telling stories about shuttle launches. So cool! #SpaceX#FalconHeavypic.twitter.com/s0oPEAWluM

— Extra Toasty Falcon9 (@ToastyFalcon9) February 6, 2018

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Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Spectators at Cocoa Beach in Florida watch the Falcon Heavy rocket launch

Many people were surprised at what the Falcon Heavy was taking into space.

There were no astronauts or satellites on this flight. Instead, Mr Musk decided to send his old cherry-red Tesla sports car with a space-suited mannequin strapped in the driver’s seat.

The radio was also set to play a David Bowie soundtrack on a loop.

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This is real folks. This just happened. This car is out there in space right now. Jaw-dropping. #SpaceXpic.twitter.com/wwy2TEEGCH

— Christopher Paolini (@paolini) February 6, 2018

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Image copyrightAFP/SpaceX
Image caption The car has been sent into an elliptical orbit that reaches out as far as the Planet Mars

There were jokes aplenty about the orbiting roadster.

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There are unconfirmed reports that following the successful launching of a car and mannequin into outer space, McDonalds is considering firing up Ronald McDonald on a cycle to scope out the potential of a chain of drive-throughs. #SpaceX#FalconHeavy

— Jamie Alter (@jamie_alterTOI) February 7, 2018

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I left my red Tesla in the parking lot. Now it’s missing. Anyone have any idea where it could be?

— Dan Lucas (@WFLADan) February 6, 2018

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pic.twitter.com/C4PSdUNMfK

— English Russia (@EnglishRussia1) February 7, 2018

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One teacher posted this image of her students reacting excitedly to the launch.

“Thanks Elon Musk for inspiring the next generation,” she wrote.

Skip Twitter post by @LindzDunnavant

Watched the @spacex launch with @crichsv our students. Reaction to seeing the @teslamotors Roadster floating far above the world; planet Earth is blue. Thanks @elonmusk for inspiring the next generation. #whyrandolph#rstories18#spacex#majortomhttps://t.co/SeCiF1mNM4pic.twitter.com/k2BXig0Oef

— Lindsey Dunnavant (@LindzDunnavant) February 6, 2018

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Mr Musk shared an image from inside the car on Instagram.

He revealed that it had “Made on Earth by humans” printed on its circuit board.

“That was epic,” Mr Musk told reporters after the launch. Many people on social media seemed to agree.

What an amazing thing to see,” one user wrote. Others described it as “stunning” and hailed the “amazing feat of science”.

Skip Twitter post by @lindenashby

I just watched the space X launch and it was, at the risk of being flowery… breathtaking! And if I’m being truthfull, it was incredibly emotional for me. What an amazing thing to see! Human ingenuity at its finest! Well done Mr. Musk and the Space x team!!!Thank you! #SpaceX

— Linden Ashby (@lindenashby) February 6, 2018

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Skip Twitter post by @MsNikkiFlores

Wow wow wow wow @elonmusk 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 what a beautiful show. I had chills and tears when the boosters landed. Congratulations to the only man cool enough to put a Tesla Roadster in space to a Bowie tune 🍾 @SpaceX

— Nikki Flores (@MsNikkiFlores) February 6, 2018

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