Currently reading: SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket en route to Mars with Tesla Roadster
Elon Musk’s own drop-top EV sports car has successfully thrust into space; it will eventually pass close to Mars
Sam Sheehan
News
2 mins read
6 February 2018

Elon Musk has sent his Tesla Roadster into space in the nose of his new SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

The car, Musk’s own example of his car company's first model, is mounted in the tip of the new rocket and is being thrust into an orbit around the Sun.

During the launch this evening, the car was captured on camera playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity through its sound system. It features a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a towel with ‘Don’t Panic’ (from the story) on it in the glovebox. A dummy wearing a SpaceX suit is sat in the driver’s seat (see gallery).

The Roadster has first entered a Low Earth Orbit attached to the rocket, but after passing through the Van Allen radiation belt (a potentially dangerous region held in place by our planet’s magnetic field) it will head towards Mars. The car will then be released from the rocket and pass close to the red planet on its own.

SpaceX mounted cameras to the Roadster to capture the journey as it unfolds. The Roadster is the first consumer car to be sent into space and the fourth car overall, following the Moon buggies of the Apollo missions.

SpaceX, which Musk also owns, is using the car to demonstrate the Falcon Heavy’s ability to carry large payloads into space. The rocket is claimed to be capable of holding up to 63.8 tonnes of cargo – the equivalent of 49 Roadsters – for a journey into Low Earth Orbit. It can carry 16.8 tonnes to Mars.

The Falcon Heavy is powered by 27 Merlin engines spread across three main structures. All three are planned to return and land on Earth - the first two are already down - once the mission is complete. This would be the first time all three segments have been recovered.

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Musk’s plan is providing both of his brands with extensive global coverage. The Mk1 Roadster’s successor was revealed late last year with bold claims that it can race from 0-62mph in 1.9sec and has a 620-mile range, thanks to a 200kWh battery pack.

Like the Roadster, the Falcon Heavy comes with claims of class-leading specifications. Its maximum payload is more than 2.5 times what NASA’s now-retired Shuttle could carry and it is claimed to be capable of taking 3.5-tonnes of cargo to Pluto.

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Marc 9 February 2018

Amazing to watch

Amazing to watch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_kfM-BmVzQ

oaffie 7 February 2018

Well this ignorant petty

Well this ignorant petty-minded person is more than willing to criticise it.

There is currently enough junk and debris up in space due to man made space flight that is posing a danger in all sorts of ways.  This arrogant project is just putting more up there for the sake of a vanity project.

And I would counter your argument that he has vision and vaulting ambition.  He simply has too much money and time on his hands.  The guy needs to get a life.  His automotive business model is failing.  Anybody with loads of money can throw good money after bad.

TheDriver 7 February 2018

oaffie wrote:

oaffie wrote:

Well this ignorant petty-minded person is more than willing to criticise it.

There is currently enough junk and debris up in space due to man made space flight that is posing a danger in all sorts of ways.  This arrogant project is just putting more up there for the sake of a vanity project.

And I would counter your argument that he has vision and vaulting ambition.  He simply has too much money and time on his hands.  The guy needs to get a life.  His automotive business model is failing.  Anybody with loads of money can throw good money after bad.

Sounds like space flight not your thing. Your first sentence sums you up very nicely!

vanoord 7 February 2018

oaffie wrote:

oaffie wrote:

Well this ignorant petty-minded person is more than willing to criticise it.

There is currently enough junk and debris up in space due to man made space flight that is posing a danger in all sorts of ways.  This arrogant project is just putting more up there for the sake of a vanity project.

Not really. 

This has gone to a massive, heleocentric orbit while 'space junk' is is Earth orbit.

It's the difference between your car adding to road conjestion in central London at rush hour or driving around the Australian outback at night. 

Marc 9 February 2018

oaffie wrote:

oaffie wrote:

Well this ignorant petty-minded person is more than willing to criticise it.

There is currently enough junk and debris up in space due to man made space flight that is posing a danger in all sorts of ways.  This arrogant project is just putting more up there for the sake of a vanity project.

And I would counter your argument that he has vision and vaulting ambition.  He simply has too much money and time on his hands.  The guy needs to get a life.  His automotive business model is failing.  Anybody with loads of money can throw good money after bad.

But you're happy to make use of the technology these rockets make possible....

Why don't you have crack a making some money like him?  Show us all how it's done.

TheDriver 7 February 2018

Applaud the achievement.

Some really small-minded comments on this topic. Musk should be applauded for this achievement if you can see the bigger picture. Most self-made billionaires have huge self belief and many are not shy about promoting themselves and their businesses. Musk has vision and vaulting ambition and I would never underestimate what he may yet achieve in the years ahead. I have mixed views about his Tesla cars, overpriced as they are, but he revels in being a pioneer and challenging the establishment. Tesla cars are playing their part in the gradual move away from the internal combustion engine, though the established car manufacturers are likely to challenge Tesla’s position more than Musk will openly admit. 

Only the ignorant and petty-minded can criticise the success of the Falcon Heavy’s successful launch.