Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched what it called the world’s most powerful operational rocket into space Tuesday.
The maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy will deliver its payload — Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster, driven by a mannequin in a SpaceX suit — into an Earth-Mars elliptical orbit.
The mammoth rocket, which has 27 engines, is the most powerful, non-government vehicle sent to space, marking a turning point in private companies’ space ambitions.
“We want a new space race,” Musk told the New York Times. “Races are exciting.”
It was considered a risky test. Before the Falcon Heavy’s takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Musk had tried to keep expectations low, telling Bloomberg he would consider the test mission a success if the rocket did not blow up.
Musk said that if the Falcon Heavy test went well, SpaceX would plan to fly its first mission for a paying satellite operator in three to six months. The pioneering firm has also publicly stated ambitions to take tourists on space missions. SpaceX initially planned to take two passengers on a private voyage around the moon, using the Falcon Heavy rocket.
Watch the entire launch in under two minutes above.