The launch took place from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center this evening.
Minutes after launch, the two side cores dropped away and descended to make separate touchdowns at two landing zones on the Florida coast, not far from the launch pad. But the takeoff also demonstrated, for the first time, that all three of the craft's reusable rockets could successfully pilot themselves back to Earth outside of a testing scenario.
The satellite will be deployed approximately 34 minutes after liftoff.
"Three for three boosters today", a SpaceX webcast commentator said.
The roads were also jammed for Wednesday night's launch attempt, which was scuttled by high winds. Last year's initial Falcon Heavy launch was a spectacle thanks in part to its test payload: Musk's cherry-red Tesla Roadster with a mannequin passenger, dubbed Starman, sitting in the driver's seat. It's been made even more powerful since last year's demo flight through upgrades that SpaceX refers to as Block 5, which were applied to the company's smaller Falcon 9 rocket starting in May.
Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki say emotional goodbyes
It concluded a full day, and season, of celebration for Nowitzki. "I want to see how my body feels the last couple of weeks". He broke Kobe Bryant's record of 20 seasons with the Lakers. "But physically, the foot is just not quite there".
SpaceX has two operational rockets: the Falcon 9, which with 21 launches in 2018 dominates the United States market, and the Falcon Heavy, which as its name suggests is created to lift much heavier payloads into more distant orbits.
Privately owned SpaceX, also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp, was founded in 2002 by Musk, who is also a co-founder of electric auto maker Tesla Inc.
The Roadster is thought to be on the other side of the sun from us right now, about three-quarters of the way around its first solar orbit, said senior analyst at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Jon Giorgini.
After the 2018 Falcon Heavy launch, the center core missed the drone ship when only one of three engines ignited for the final landing burn. The company selected Falcon Heavy in September for a mission anticipated in late 2017 or 2018.
Until SpaceX came along, rocket boosters were usually discarded in the ocean after satellite launches.