SpaceX launches new megarocket with Tesla auto on board

SpaceX launches new megarocket with Tesla auto on board

On Feb. 6, millions watched as Musk completed the successful launch of the world's most powerful rocket - the Falcon Heavy - from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the same Florida base that once sent astronauts to the moon. To top it all off, a few lucky sky-gazers in California even caught a glimpse of the Falcon Heavy's upper stage performing its final burn, hours after takeoff, putting the infamous Tesla Roadster on a course that will bring it as far out as the asteroid belt. At their closest point to the sun, Starman and the Roadster will fly just inside Earth's orbit, according to the diagram.

If nothing else, it would inspire people, he figured, reignite interest in space, while furthering his ambitions to push deeper into the cosmos, even though at the time he had never flown a rocket.

February 7: A Tesla Roadster in orbit. It is a mannequin wearing a SpaceX designed uniform and will accompany Musk's Tesla roadster along its journey towards Mars.

In the meantime, with the Heavy demo out of the way, Musk said SpaceX is putting its commercial crew effort for NASA front and center.

Musk confirmed late Tuesday that a final burn by the Falcon Heavy rocket's upper stage engine had successfully initiated a "trans-Mars injection" meant to boost the vehicle into an orbit around the sun stretching as far out as Mars.

And like those records, the Starman and his ride are set to keep going and going and going.

"It is hoped the auto will be thrown into an elliptical orbit that stretches out to Mars' orbit around the Sun", SPACE & UNIVERSE writes. Musk was anxious about the third burn because the second stage spent six hours in the Van Allen radiation belts that encircle the Earth.

The auto is headed for orbit around the sun that will, at times, put the vehicle as far away from the sun as Mars. Aboard the 230-foot rocket was a cherry-red Tesla manned by a test dummy nicknamed Starman, and naturally, the whole thing was soundtracked by David Bowie's "Space Oddity".

An example of the golden record carried on the Voyager spacecraft.

Over 10,000 people are now watching the live stream at the time of this writing, and photos of the Tesla in space are going viral across the Web and world. "It's still tripping me out".

"All of the organics will be subjected to degradation by the various kinds of radiation that you will run into there", Carroll told LiveScience.

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"I might disable the airbag before I send it", the scientist said instead.

"I have nothing against going to the moon, but I think it is challenging to become multi-planetary on the moon because it is much smaller than a planet", Musk wrote.

Indeed, the photo of that surreal red auto and the silliness it represents have served to ignite the imaginations of millions around the globe.

Falcon Heavy is 229.6 ft long (some 23 storeys) has 27 engines and weighs 549,054kg - the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V was last flown in 1973.

Musk has also shown a gift for building excitement through social media.

Two of the boosters- both recycled from previous launches - returned minutes later for simultaneous, side-by-side touchdowns at Cape Canaveral.

Falcon Heavy side cores have landed at SpaceX's Landing Zones 1 and 2. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and rival Boeing Co. were among those congratulating SpaceX on the launch.

In November, he turned the launch of a Tesla big rig into an event that captivated Tesla fans and industry observers.

Professor Olguin says, "The payload that we're looking at for the Falcon Heavy is something not only technologically advanced, but now you can actually develop more robust satellites".

The rocket's smooth takeoff wasn't the only stunning thing about this launch.