SpaceX Starship rocket blasts off after launch delay
The successful launch came after an earlier attempt was called off with just one second left on the countdown clock on Tuesday.
It's not clear why SpaceX halted the launch, though last-minute scrubs are not uncommon even during routine rocket launches.
Computers or flight controllers may have caught an abnormal reading about the rocket's health and stopped the engines from igniting. SpaceX did not disclose the reason for the delay.
The 14,000-metre test launch is expected to give the Starship plenty of room to conduct a "landing flip manoeuvre," which will allow engineers to test the vehicle's ability to reorient itself for landing as it would during the final leg of an orbital flight.
The SN8 rocket wouldn't be able to reach Earth's orbit on its own anyway.
The final Starship design will need six rocket engines, and even then the vehicle will require a separate, hulking rocket booster, dubbed the Super Heavy, to blast the spacecraft into orbit because that trip will require it to travel at speeds topping more than 30,000km/h.
It's not yet clear if the company has started development or testing of the Super Heavy booster.
For a journey to Mars, Starship will also eventually need to reach "escape velocity" — about 50,000km/h — which is the speed required to rip a spacecraft away from Earth's gravitational pull, allowing it to travel into more distant regions of our solar system.