Musk Parks His Tesla In Orbit
SpaceX will launch its first Falcon Heavy rocket early in the new year and founder Elon Musk is betting the eternal resting place of his personal cherry-red Tesla Roadster on the successful outcome of the test flight. His daily driver will be the payload on the rocket, SpaceX’s most powerful to date, and if all goes well it will be parked in orbit around Mars for “a billion years.” And if it doesn’t go well? “Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another,” he said in the first of two tweets. “Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”
The Falcon Heavy has 27 Merlin rocket engines and the first static test firing all of them at once is scheduled for before the end of the year. If that works, the Tesla launch will go ahead within weeks. The launch will take place at the Kennedy Space Center where SpaceX has leased one of the former Apollo and Space Shuttle launch pads for 20 years. The Falcon Heavy will be used for heavy-lift missions for private and military customers and is scheduled to launch two private citizens for a trip around the moon sometime next year.