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Car Trek: Elon Launches a Tesla into Space

“These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby don’t cry
Don’t cry”   

—Paul Simon, The Boy in the Bubble, Graceland 1986

Elon Musk has done it again. This time he put a Tesla Roadster inside a rocket and launched it into space. It’s now on a mission to the edge of the Solar System. You can watch live feed cameras as the car floats through space!

 Reprinted from the NY Post February 7th, 2018:

Link to story here.

Maximum ‘over’ drive
It’s the greatest road trip of all time!

Elon Musk’s SpaceX blasted its most powerful rocket yet into space Tuesday — carrying a sports car on board headed to Mars and beyond.

The eccentric billionaire donated his own red Tesla Roadster as payload for the unmanned Falcon Heavy, which took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida — while the car’s stereo system blasted the David Bowie song “Life on Mars?” and a webcam on the vehicle captured the historic journey.

It’s the first car to leave the planet — if you don’t count the Apollo moon buggies.

The vehicle is helmed by a dummy called “Starman” — the title of another Bowie song — who is wearing a prototype of SpaceX’s own sleek spacesuit.

Astounding footage taken from the car shows Starman and his vessel seemingly cruising through the galaxy.

“View from SpaceX Launch Control,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth.”

On the vehicle’s dashboard is the phrase “Don’t Panic!” — a reference to Musk’s favorite book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Digital copies of Isaac Asimov’s classic sci-fi series “Foundation” are also on board.

The private spaceflight company is aiming to shoot the Roadster into solar orbit — which should take around six months — and the car will then hopefully float around for another billion years or so.

The car could come “quite close” to Mars, Musk said ahead of the launch, but it is unlikely to crash into the Red Planet.

“I wouldn’t hold your breath,” he said.

The Falcon Heavy took three boosters — the same rockets it uses to send supply ships to the International Space Station — and 27 engines to launch.

Musk himself had given the endeavor only a “50-50” chance of success.

“There’s a lot that could go wrong, a really tremendous amount,” Musk told Ars Technica before the launch.

“I really like to emphasize that the odds of success are not super high,” he said.

Almost everything appeared to go according to plan, however — although one of the three boosters got off course on its return journey to a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, and crashed into the water instead. The other two landed safely back on Earth.

Space X tries to save money by reusing the boosters.

The high-stakes spectacle attracted huge crowds to Cape Canaveral — and they weren’t disappointed.

“This is America, this is who we are. It just made history,” Aida Hart told the Orlando Sentinel after watching the takeoff from her sister-in-law’s lawn.

Onlookers whooped and cheered as the rocket launched into the heavens, the paper reported.

The Heavy is ultimately intended to haul massive satellites into space.

Musk last year announced that it would take humans into space, but later ditched that idea in favor of creating an even bigger rocket for crews.

He ultimately hopes to colonize Mars.



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7 Responses to Car Trek: Elon Launches a Tesla into Space

  1. zenicaonline February 14, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

    The rocket’s two side boosters landed successfully on the ground after launch. SpaceX feed lost its video feed connection to the central core booster as it approached its landing spot in the ocean, but that’s common and not necessarily an indicator of failure. Other rocket boosters on the market today are discarded after launch.   Musk previously said Falcon Heavy’s success would be akin to placing it in a market “where one aircraft company has reusable aircraft, and all the other aircraft companies had aircraft that were single-use … You sort of parachute out to your destination, and the plane would crash-land somewhere. Crazy as that sounds, that’s how the rocket business works. ” Musk’s electric car has a spacesuit-clad dummy, called “Starman,” in the driver’s seat, plus a suite of video cameras. “They should really provide some epic views if they work and everything goes well,” Musk said. However, the car’s fate won’t be known for about six hours: Falcon Heavy’s uppermost stage, which carries Musk’s tricked-out car, will coast for about six hours through intense radiation fields around Earth’s magnetic Van Allen Belt. “It’s going to get whacked pretty hard” by high-energy particles, Musk said.

  2. Ed Anspach February 10, 2018 at 11:30 am #

    Yes, it is crazy but it makes a point. It is possible to do it and he has. Probably a lot less red tape than a government launch.
    I wonder if it voids the warranty if the car is not serviced at a dealer??

    • Philip Richter February 26, 2018 at 5:46 pm #

      I highly recommend the biography of Elon Musk by Ashelee Vance and Fred Sanders.

  3. Mike Kovac February 9, 2018 at 4:55 am #

    “He ultimately hopes to colonize Mars.”

    He has 50 million years before Phobos could and probably will crash into it. But, hey until then, we can keep launching shiny red Tesla roadsters into orbit. In fact, I have a Buick Reatta I would like to donate for the next launch. At close to 4,000 lbs, you’ll have to excuse me while I go paint it resale, I mean reentry red. I’m panicking!

    • Philip Richter February 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm #

      The Reatta would look great floating through space….it was way ahead of its time!

  4. Robert February 9, 2018 at 4:05 am #

    Has the ‘value’ of the Tesla gone ‘Up’ ?

    • Philip Richter February 26, 2018 at 5:48 pm #

      The value has gone up a lot, just imagine what it cost to get it into space? I wonder if that could be considered in the sales price?