It includes a red Tesla car

Space agency SpaceX has successfully launched a rocket designed to send a car to Mars.

The Falcon Heavy blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida just before 9.00pm Irish time.

It's the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Image: YouTube/SpaceX

Its payload includes a Tesla Roadster car - which'll eventually be put into Mars orbit.

Inside the car is a mannequin named 'Starman', who is wearing a SpaceX spacesuit.

On the decision to put a car in the rocket, the company said: "Demonstration missions like this one typically carry steel or concrete blocks as mass simulators, but SpaceX decided it would be more worthwhile to launch something fun and without irreplaceable sentimental value: a red Roadster for the red planet."

SpaceX adds: "It's important to remember that this mission is a test flight.

"Even if we do not complete all of the experimental milestones that are being attempted during this test, we will still be gathering critical data throughout the mission."

You can watch-back the takeoff below: