Space-X and the Falcon Heavy Rocket: Starman and the Roadster

 In Science

Don’t look now, but there is a car driving around in space. No, this isn’t SciFi, it’s Elon Musk and Space-X. He decided that any old payload on a spacecraft would be “boring” so he sent up a payload of a Tesla roadster (his own car) and a dummy called “Starman” on his Falcon Heavy rocket. His plan? To send his car to Mars and beyond to the asteroid belt. And it appears to have worked magnificently.

Originally set for launch at 1:30 pm on Feb 6, the wind shear was too strong, so they waited until 3:45 pm.

Four hours of live-streaming video was beamed back to earth as the Tesla roadster and Starman embarked on their elliptical orbit journey. The battery was projected to last 12 hours, but only lasted four. But four hours gave viewers some stunning images.

The Flight profile of the spacecraft resembled an out of control snarl in your grandmother’s yarn basket. But it worked, and somewhere out there is Tesla roadster with “Starman” in it, tooling around as if it was just a Sunday drive. A really, really long drive.

The Falcon Heavy rocket contains 27 engines, and is able to generate over 5 million pounds of thrust. It’s made up of three Falcon 9 rockets, the ones used to send supplies to the International Space Station, and send up satellites.

Two of the side cores landed perfectly after launch, but the third smacked into the ocean at around 300 mph after failing to ignite all 3 landing engines. No matter, the launch was tremendously successful. Space-X reuses their spent first stage boosters, whereas others discard them.

Musk touts the Falcon Heavy as the most powerful rocket ever created, at a fraction of the cost.

Space.com reported,

Starman and the Roadster are now flying in a long, elliptical orbit around the sun. At its farthest point, that orbit extends nearly 243 million miles (390 million kilometers). That’s 2.61 times the average distance between Earth and the sun, which is, on average, about 93 million miles (150 million km).

For reference, Mars orbits the sun at an average distance of 142 million miles (228 million km). At their closest point to the sun, Starman and the Roadster will fly just inside Earth’s orbit, according to the diagram.

The roadster and its passenger are expected to be destroyed by radiation in less than a year, but no matter. It is still an epic journey, still the stuff of which dreams are made.

Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

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