SpaceX's Falcon Heavy roars to life for the first time in history

The Falcon Heavy which will be able to carry more than 140,000 pounds to low Earth orbit in a hangar at Cape Canaveral. The Heavy could launch by the end of the month

The Falcon Heavy static fire test was pushed back from its original date of January 11 due to a bug in one of the rocket's eight hold-down clamps.

"This is one of those things that's really hard to test on the ground", said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

The test fire, completed at the SpaceX Cape Canaveral launch facility from which Falcon Heavy will make its first voyage, occurred early Wednesday afternoon, and SpaceX signalled following the test that all went well.

CEO Elon Musk reported on Twitter that the test fire "was good", and SpaceX will be "launching in a week or so".

The long-anticipated test flight will carry Musk's Tesla Roadster.

He has also warned that there is a possibility the rocket could explode. Preceded by a series of dry fit checks, wet propellant loading tests, and many other bug-fixing operations at Pad 39A, today's inaugural Falcon Heavy ignition has been years in the making.

Some space advocates think Falcon Heavy could offer a quicker, cheaper path for NASA to send astronauts back to the moon.

Musk has said the payload 'will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent'.

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If all goes according to plan, the Falcon Heavy will lift off and enter Earth's orbit, before two of its booster rockets separate off and return to Earth at Cape Canaveral in controlled landings.

The successful creation of the Falcon Heavy has been a lofty goal for SpaceX, but so far, it looks like it just might be attainable.

The Falcon Heavy is a towering presence, sitting in all its monstrous glory on the LC-39A launchpad - the very same launchpad that was used to send astronauts to the moon courtesy of Saturn V rockets. There's no practical reason to launch the vehicle, but SpaceX needed some mass to simulate a real payload, and this is exactly the sort of quirky thing Musk would do.

"Based on the data available, our team did not identify any information that would change SpaceX's Falcon 9 certification status", Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, told Bloomberg News in a statement.

Then again, the pool of heavy rockets will remain small for the foreseeable future, and researchers shouldn't expect rock-bottom prices anytime soon, Hertzfeld says.

In 2011, Musk said he expected that the Heavy would have its first flight in 2014. Not only was the rumbling ear-splitting and awesome, but the billowing exhaust plumes surrounding the launch site were tremendous when the full force from over 5 million pounds of thrust power was let loose.

Another tricky aspect is the large number of rocket engines.

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