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."
Sign up for the Live Science daily newsletter now
Get the world’s most fascinating discoveries delivered straight to your inbox.