Elon Musk has sent his Tesla Roadster into the space in the nose of his new SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
The car, Musk’s own example of his car in the company’s first model, is mounted in the end of the new fuse and being immersed in an orbit around the Sun.
During the launch, this evening, the car has been captured on camera playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity, through his sound system. He has a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a towel with “don’t Panic” (history) in the glove box. A model wears a SpaceX suit is sitting in the driver’s seat (see the gallery).
The Roadster has first entered into a Low Orbit of the Earth attached to the rocket, but after passing through the Van Allen radiation belt (potentially dangerous to the region and held in place by our planet’s magnetic field), it will head in the direction of March. The car will then be released from the rocket and to pass near the red planet on its own.
SpaceX cameras mounted on 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 in the set, following the Moon buggies of the Apollo missions.
SpaceX, which Musk is also the owner, is using the car to demonstrate the Falcon Heavy, the ability to carry large payloads in space. The rocket is claimed to be able to hold up to 63,8 tons of freight, the equivalent of 49 Roadsters â€“ for a trip into Low Earth Orbit. It can carry up to 16.8 tonnes in March.
The Falcon Heavy is powered by 27 Merlin engines spread across three main structures. All three are projected to return and the Earth – the first two are already at the bottom – once the mission is complete. This would be the first time all three segments have been recovered.
Musk’s plan is to provide at the time of its brands, with a wide global coverage. The Mk1 Roadster successor has been revealed at the end of last year, with bold claims that it can race from 0-62mph in 1.9 sec and has a 620 miles, with a 200kwh battery pack.
Like the Roadster, the Falcon Heavy comes with claims of class-leading specifications. Its maximum load is more than 2.5 times what NASA is retiring the Shuttle could carry and it is claimed to be able to take 3.5 tons of cargo to Pluto.
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