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Falcon Heavy launch is just the beginning of 21st century space race

FLORIDA — The Falcon Heavy's maiden voyage came complete with breath-taking images of a Tesla and "Starman" the mannequin orbiting earth.

"I'm still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seems surreal to me."

For SpaceX CEO Elon Musk it was also a shot across the bow to the competition.

"I think it's going to encourage other countries and companies to raise their sights and say hey, we can do bigger and better, which is great. We want new space race. Races are exciting."

Those SpaceX rocket boosters landing back on Earth weren't just a show for spectators. They could be seen down the street at Blue Origin, Amazon founder Jeff Bezo's space company.

Blue Origin is one of several private companies targeting space. It's also looking to cut costs by developing re-usable rockets, like the new Glenn. NASA is continuing to commission rockets - like the SLS - for missions to the moon and Mars. It will be more powerful than the Falcon Heavy and more expensive.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, a member of the National Space Council, was at the SpaceX launch.

"What happens if Elon Musk can prove that he can do it one sooner, but also cheaper?"

"Well, I think we are going to move forward to the best and lowest cost solution regardless of who develops it."

Both SpaceX and Boeing have contracts with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. That could happen late this year and would mark the return of humans launching from U.S. soil since the space shuttle retired in 2011.