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Showtime for SpaceX's big new rocket with sports car on top

  • SpaceX-New-Rocket-Launch

    A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket stands ready for launch on pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday. The Falcon Heavy scheduled to launch Tuesday afternoon, has three first-stage boosters, strapped together with 27 engines in all.

    TERRY RENNA / AP

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It's almost showtime for SpaceX's big new rocket with a cherry-red sports car on top.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is poised to blast off Tuesday afternoon from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

It's the long-awaited first test flight for the rocket. Once it soars, it will become the world's most powerful rocket in use today. The Heavy is equipped with three boosters and 27 engines designed to provide about 5 million pounds of thrust.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk has his Tesla Roadster on board. Musk — who also heads up the Tesla electric carmaker — says he wanted to add some dramatic flair. Usually there are things like steel or concrete slabs or mundane experiments on test flights. SpaceX is targeting a long, oval orbit around the sun for the car. In the driver's seat of the convertible is “Starman,” a dummy in a spacesuit, with one hand on the steering wheel.



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