SpaceX successfully launched the world’s most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a test mission to Mars Tuesday.
The Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful rocket by a factor of two, meaning it has the ability to lift more than twice the payload of the next most powerful rocket, at a third of the cost, according to SpaceX. It is able to lift more payload than any other American rocket since the Saturn 5, which was used for the Apollo moon landings.
“We’ve done everything we could do to maximize the chances of success of this mission,” said SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk to reporters over the phone, according to Business Insider. “I think once you’ve done everything you can think of, and if it still goes wrong, well, there’s not much more, there’s nothing you could have done. And I feel at peace with that."
Growing up in FLA we used to run outside to watch the rockets going up from the Cape. This is the most exciting launch I can remember. #FalconHeavy @SpaceX pic.twitter.com/UC1WQuq4nZ— Butcher (@theButcher_st) February 6, 2018
Test missions similar to Tuesday’s typically carry payloads of concrete blocks or steel as mass simulators. The payload on the Falcon Heavy however is Musk’s own midnight-cherry red Roadster from Tesla, his electric car company.
The rocket is now attempting to place the “red Roadster for the red planet” into a precessing Earth-Mars elliptical orbit around the sun, meaning the vehicle would be orbiting the sun at approximately the same distance as Mars is from the sun.
The vehicle in space has three cameras attached. “They should provide some epic views if they work,” Musk said in a Monday news conference.