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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Takes Off on Secret Mission

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(CNN) – SpaceX's Falcon Heavy — a towering, three-pronged vehicle that is the most powerful operational rocket in the world — returned to the skies on Tuesday for the first time since mid-2019.The rocket launched at 9:41 a.m.

ET from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hauling satellites to space for the U.S. military in a secretive mission dubbed USSF-44.The Falcon Heavy debuted in 2018 to much fanfare as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk elected to launch his personal Tesla Roadster as a test payload on the launch.

The car is still in space, taking an oblong path around the sun that swings out as far as Mars’ orbital path.Since that first test mission, SpaceX has launched only two other Falcon Heavy missions, both in 2019.

One sent a hulking TV and phone service satellite to orbit for Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat, and the other delivered a batch of experimental satellites for the US Department of Defense.But the rocket had not launched since 2019, as the vast majority of SpaceX’s missions don't require the Falcon Heavy’s amped up power.

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