Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET
The world’s newest, most powerful rocket in decades is now well on its way to space. It took a few weather delays Tuesday, but the private space company SpaceX has successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Watch the video of the launch at the top of this page.
SpaceX is in the business of making getting into orbit a lot cheaper, and Falcon Heavy is yet the latest example. According to the company, it will cost just $90 million per launch, a fraction of the price of similar heavy-lift rockets.
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder, has said the ultimate goal is to make humans an interplanetary species, by creating a colony on Mars.
Falcon Heavy is a small step on that journey but it is still a very large machine. Weighing in at over 1,500 tons, it can carry more stuff into space than any vehicle since the Saturn V rockets of the Apollo Era.
On board this flight is a car made by one of Musk’s other companies, Tesla. The cherry red roadster will be launched into an elliptical Earth-Mars orbit. At a press conference Monday, Musk said three cameras mounted to the car should provide “epic views,” assuming the launch goes well.
That may be a pretty big “if.” Although much of the technology in the Falcon Heavy is proven, it is a new rocket and things could easily go wrong.
“It’s guaranteed to be exciting one way or another,” Musk told reporters at Monday’s press conference. “It’s either going to be an exciting success, or an exciting failure.”
NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce has more on the launch here.