On Feb. 6, Elon Musk’s SpaceX demonstrated a viable successor to the mighty Saturn V rocket, which flew 13 times between 1967 and '73—shouldering the space transportation needs of a nation embroiled in a Cold War with the Soviet Union by launching a dozen missions for the Apollo Moon program and then putting the Skylab space station into low Earth orbit (LEO). For its first flight, the burden on the Falcon Heavy was considerably lighter. The mission goal: launch Musk’s ...

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