Elon Musk Sends His Tesla Roadster Into Space With Starman At The Wheel
Recently, SpaceX successfully launched the largest rocket ever built into orbit. The Falcon Heavy was a proof of concept that bigger payloads can be taken into orbit with less launches, saving money and resources in the end. The Falcon Heavy test launch was also used to test another system that Nasa and other rocket companies have been struggling to integrate successfully. The boosters of the rocket detached, as is customary with most launches, and automatically returned to the ground, landing safely, to be re-used for future launches. This ground breaking achievement brings us one step closer to affordable, commercial space flight.
Here's a detailed breakdown of the test launch from the SpaceX website:
On Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 3:45 PM ET, Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two, with the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)--a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.
Falcon Heavy's first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit.
The cherry on top of this event was the grand reveal of the payload the Falcon Heavy was actually carrying. During the live stream of the launch, we were treated to real time footage of the rocket leaving Earth's orbit. The bay doors opened and revealed a bright red Tesla Roadster convertible with a Spaceman at the wheel. Elon explained that it was his actual roadster and it was on a one way trip to Mars. The dash of the car displayed a very appropriate message from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Do Not Panic" which seemed very appropriate. The final detail that was added to the roadster was a David Bowie CD, a fitting tribute to the Starman himself.