SpaceX is test launching its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time this Tuesday and Elon Musk has confirmed he is putting his own Tesla Roadster on top as a test payload.
The Falcon Heavy the biggest rocket in SpaceX’s history. At 230ft-tall the three-booster launcher is the largest rocket in the world.
However, rather than using a bog-standard mass simulator or dummy payload atop Falcon Heavy Elon Musk — SpaceX CEO, will be placing his own 2008 midnight cherry red Tesla Roadster on top of the rocket.
Musk confirmed on his Instagram feed this weekend that the car will carry a dummy driver (wearing a SpaceX space suit) called “Starman”.
The problem has been that all rocket payloads need a permit from the US Federal Aviation Administration to launch. This final ‘road-block’ was overcome when the FAA granted SpaceX that permission on Friday in a formal notice.
Space Exploration Technologies is authorized to conduct … [a] flight of the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) transporting the modified Tesla Roadster (mass simulator) to a hyperbolic orbit FAA permit
Once launched the roadster will be placed in a Hohmann transfer orbit (also known as a hyperbolic orbit). This orbit means the car will travel between Mars and the sun on an almost infinite loop.
While Musks has admitted the endeavour is a little silly, no company has ever actually launched a private payload beyond Earths orbit before. If the launch succeeds this will be an impressive achievement for the young company.
This isn’t the first time Elon Musk has chosen a unusual payload into orbit. In 2010 he launched a wheel of cheese into orbit.
The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to blast off on Tuesday between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET.