Tesla car launched in space

The Tesla Roadster car, which was launched into space by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, features a “DON’T PANIC” message on its dashboard. The space exploration startup also sent a dummy astronaut named ‘Starman’ in the car’s driver seat. Further, a message which reads “Made on Earth by humans” is printed on the circuit board of the car.


Elon Musk launches fastest Tesla ever from his Falcon Heavy rocket.

Tesla Roadster fired towards Mars at 20,000km/h.

It looked like science fiction, but it was happening right in front of our eyes, complete with a David Bowie soundtrack. Elon Musk, owner and chief executive of both electric car maker Tesla and space launch company Space X decided to bring both halves of his empire together to demonstrate the capabilities of the new Falcon Heavy rocket.

Significantly, the launch took place from the famed Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, the same launch pad that saw Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins fired at the Moon in July 1969.

The biggest and most powerful rocket launched since the heady days of Apollo and the mighty Saturn V, the Falcon Heavy uses 27 separate ‘Merlin’ rocket engines to develop 22,819-kilo-newtons of thrust. That means that it can lift a total payload of some 64-tonnes into low Earth orbit or geosynchronous orbit (by comparison the now-retired Space Shuttle could heft 24-tonnes into orbit). Or it can fire a relatively lightweight Tesla Roadster sports car towards the planet Mars.

Behind the wheel: The Tesla heading for Mars

As far as attention-grabbing car launches go, this was the most literal, and arguably the most spectacular. The Falcon Heavy and its Roadster payload accelerating to speeds beyond 20,000km/h to break away from Earth’s gravity and speed for a Mars flyby.

That’s not even the top speed. In fact, to reach Mars, the Roadster will continue accelerating away from the Earth, eventually reaching a peak speed of 11km/second (that’s 39,600).

The Roadster has a passenger – a dummy astronaut dubbed Starman – and sends an appropriate message to the stars; the car’s infotainment screen displays the worlds ‘Don’t Panic’ in tribute to Douglas Adams’ Hitch-Hikers’ Guide To The Galaxy.


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