Elon Musk wasn't necessarily expectingSpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket to successfully launch into space Tuesday (Feb. 6) — but it did, and a new video shows Musk's surprise and delight as the megarocket lifted off.
"Holy flying f---," Musk says in the video, seconds after the Falcon Heavy pushed off the launch pad. "That thing took off."
The video, captured exclusively by National Geographic, shows Musk watching the launch from inside SpaceX's flight control facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Falcon Heavy took off from Launch Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which SpaceX leases from the agency, at 3:45 p.m. EST (2045 GMT). The test flight launched Musk's own Tesla Roadster and a mannequin "driver" into space and nailed two of three first-stage booster landings.
In the video, Musk runs outside after the rocket makes its initial leap off the pad. Along with a crowd of people, he looks and points at the rocket heading skyward.
The video of Musk during the launch was taken by National Geographic for the second season of the TV show "Mars." The show is half documentary and half fictional storyline. The documentary segment of the show explores real-world science and engineering that could help humans reach mars; the fictional storyline follows the first human colonists on Mars.
Watching the rocket go skyward, Musk exclaimed, "That is unreal."
At a press conference later that day, he told reporters, "Crazy things can come true. I didn't really think this would work — when I see the rocket lift up, I see a thousand things that could not work, and it's amazing when they do."
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Calla Cofield joined Space.com's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Space.com Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left Space.com to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter