SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced that the first flight of his company’s “Falcon Heavy” rocket will carry a Tesla Roadster — touted as the quickest car in the world with record-setting acceleration, range and performance — into Martian orbit.
“‘Falcon Heavy’ to launch next month from ‘Apollo 11’ pad at the Cape [Cape Canaveral, Florida]. Will have double thrust of next largest rocket. Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another,” Musk tweeted from his handle @elonmusk on Saturday.
“Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing ‘Space Oddity’. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent,” Musk added. “Falcon Heavy” is the follow-up to SpaceX’s “Falcon 9” rocket. It is a more powerful rocket that SpaceX hopes to use for missions to the Moon and Mars.
The rocket was originally supposed to take flight back in 2013 or 2014, but its maiden flight is now pegged for January 2018. Tesla Roadster is an all-electric battery-powered, four-seater sports car prototype from Tesla. Musk has stated that the Roadster would be the quickest vehicle in the Tesla lineup, with a new acceleration mode called “Maximum Plaid”.
SpaceX also plans to be able to recover all three rocket cores that power the “Falcon Heavy”, just like it has done over the last year with main rocket booster stage of its “Falcon 9” rockets, according to The Verge. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Musk said at a press conference that “Falcon Heavy” might not even make it to orbit the first time it leaves the atmosphere.