Somewhere far, far away in our Solar System, Starman is cruising around the Sun in a midnight cherry Tesla Roadster. The car is on the move, approximately 32,768,288 miles away from Earth (at this moment). The electric vehicle was deployed to space three years ago, on February 6, 2018, during SpaceX’s demonstration flight test of Falcon Heavy, its most powerful rocket in operation. Today is the third anniversary of the successful mission. Falcon Heavy lifted off from historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. During the mission, SpaceX livestreamed as the Tesla Roadster was placed into orbit. Positioned in the driver's seat is Starman, a mannequin dressed as an astronaut. It was very inspiring to watch an actual car orbiting around Earth while its radio played "Life on Mars" by David Bowie. The Falcon Heavy debut flight also showcased SpaceX’s engineering talent to the world. The rocket’s first-stage side boosters returned from space with synchronized propulsive landings for the first time. SpaceX made history that day!
All Images Source: SpaceX
The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk decided to launch the ‘silly’ payload during Falcon Heavy’s debut flight because a rocket's first flight has potential to fail. Typically, aerospace companies launch giant concrete blocks atop new rockets as dummy payload to act as a mass simulator during a test launch. Musk opted to launch his personal Tesla Roadster, instead of launching a boring concrete block to space. The Tesla Roadster launch inspired millions to look at the stars. Perhaps a new generation of engineers and space explorers was born, inspired by the iconic image of the Tesla Roadster with Earth as backdrop that went viral on social media and the news. –“Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it, we did it for you,” Musk said after the successful mission. The website Where's The Roadster? has been tracking Starman’s location. The chart below is where the Tesla Roadster is located today, February 6, 2021.
The Tesla Roadster cruising space features a giant base with the names of all SpaceX employees who are working to make life multiplanetary. The vehicle is carrying a copy of Douglas Adams' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the glove compartment, and a sign on the dashboard that reads "DON'T PANIC!" which is a reference to the Sci-Fi novel. The vehicle also carries a copy of Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy on a 5D optical disc, which is a long-lasting data storage, donated to Musk by the Arch Mission Foundation. If an alien species ever finds the Tesla Roadster, there is a message on a circuit board that reads "Made on Earth by Humans." You can relive the incredible Falcon Heavy debut launch in the video below!
SPACEX FALCON HEAVY DEBUT FLIGHT 2018
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.