When Elon Musk first tweeted that SpaceX would be launching his Cherry Red Telsa Roadster to Mars orbit, it didn’t seem like a thing that was actually going to happen. “The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit,” said SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. The billionaire posted photos on Instagram of his old ride surrounded by the Falcon Heavy payload fairings that will protect it during launch.
The demonstration flight of SpaceX’s heavy-lift vehicle has been “around the corner” for years but has been delayed due to the company’s Falcon 9 explosions in 2015 and 2016. Elon Musk finally targeted November for Falcon Heavy’s debut but routine mission delays pushed it to January.
Not only will the launch of the most powerful rocket in operation be something to witness, but minutes after, two of the Heavy’s side boosters will come soaring through Florida’s skies for a twin touchdown at Cape Canaveral. The core booster will be flown to the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ drone-ship parked in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX will test-fire the Falcon Heavy’s 27 Merlin engines at Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A in the early days of 2018. SpaceX published photos the enormous rocket in the company’s hangar in Florida. Soon after, a blurry photo of its payload leaked from Reddit.
Elon Musk then posted a handful of official photos on his Instagram account with the caption “A Red Car for the Red Planet.”
“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring,” said Musk. “Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.”
The Tesla Roadster is an electric battery-powered sports car manufactured by SpaceX from 2008 to 2012. It was the first electric vehicle to travel more than 200 miles on a single charge. Now, it will be the first car to fly in space, If the Falcon Heavy doesn’t explode during its first launch.