SpaceX has launched its new rocket into space becoming the most powerful currently in use.
The Falcon Heavy rocket blasted off on its first test flight towards Mars from the same launch pad used by NASA in Florida 50 years ago that sent men to the moon.
“The mission went as well as one could have hoped,” SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said after the launch.
He called it “probably the most exciting thing I have seen literally ever.”
Thousands packed surrounding beaches, bridges and roads to watch the rocket launch from Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.
However, the launch was delayed by more than two hours because of high wind.
Mr Musk said the launch went off better than he expected.
“I had this image of a giant explosion on the bad with a wheel bouncing down the road with the Tesla logo landing somewhere,” he said.
“Fortunately that is not what happened.”
The rocket also carried Mr Musk’s red Tesla Roadster complete with a dummy named “Starman”, dressed in a space suit astronaughts will wear during SpaceX’s Crew Dragon flights to the International Space Station.
The convertible is fitted with cameras to capture views of the car as it floated through space, expected to be travelling between Earth and Mars for a billion years according to Mr Musk.
The Falcon Heavy is propelled by 27 rocket engines and three Falcon 9 boosters to pack more than 2.2 million kilograms of thrust at the launch, approximately three times the force of the Falcon 9 booster that had propelled the SpaceX fleet until now.
The boosters are being reused to save on launch costs.
It is now the most powerful existing rocket since NASA’s Saturn 5 rockets that took astronauts to the moon.
The Falcon Heavy is intended to be used for heavier loads including commercial satellites and national security missions.
However, SpaceX will not be flying passengers on the Falcon Heavy.
Mr Musk said he will increase development of a bigger rocket to accommodate deep-space crews with the ultimate goal to establish a city Mars.