SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed on Instagram last night that the company’s internally-designed spacesuit will be going for a ride to deep space. It will be launched as part of the company’s “fun” payload to accompany the first ever flight of the SpaceX’s long-in-development Falcon Heavy rocket.
Liftoff is currently scheduled for Tuesday, February 6th during a three-hour window opening
Musk announced late last year that the “dummy” payload that will be encapsulated atop the triple-booster Falcon Heavy will actually be his cherry-red Tesla Roadster, an electric luxury sportscar. SpaceX will mount multiple cameras on the car to capture the moment it separates from the rocket and begins its journey.
So where exactly is the “Red Car for a Red Planet” Roadster headed? Not TO Mars, but a Mars-heliocentric orbit. This means the Falcon Heavy will launch the vehicle, without any thrusters, toward the same orbit that Mars travels around the Sun. The vehicle will never actually reach the planet, but chase it around its own orbit for “a billion years.” Musk claims.
The eccentric billionaire posted photos on Instagram last night that revealed the company’s white space suit sitting in the driver’s seat of the Tesla Roadster which means its also going for a very very very long ride around the sun. Will SpaceX be running tests on the spacesuit while it is exposed to the vacuum of space? It’s unclear. But the footage of the launch and its payload deployment will sure be exciting to watch.
The main mission here is to prove that SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy works. The company wants to use the launch vehicle to deliver larger satellites to orbit for both the private sector and the government. But also, SpaceX thinks it can use Falcon Heavy to launch tourists or NASA astronauts to lunar orbit with their upcoming Crew Dragon vehicle.
Upon a successful launch, The Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in the world by almost double. It’s competitor ULA has the next most powerful vehicle, the Delta-4 Heavy and it can fire up to 2.3 million pounds of thrust. The Falcon Heavy can do around 5 million and Kennedy Space Center was shaken by that immense power just two weeks ago when SpaceX test-fired the rocket’s 27 Merlin engines at Pad 39A.