It is the fastest Tesla that has ever existed: the first-generation roadster circled the sun at speeds of up to 120,000 km / h; at the moment it is heading towards earth at a good 12,000 km / h. It is around 50 million kilometers away from us at the moment. At the end of March it will be a good 40 million kilometers before the red electric car will again be many hundreds of millions of kilometers away from us.
Tesla Roadster in space dissolves
A little more than three years ago, on February 6, 2018, Elon Musk launched his own roadster in the color “midnight cherry” at the tip of a Falcon Heavy rocket. It was the maiden flight of the most powerful SpaceX rocket to date. The flight was almost exemplary, the two boosters landed precisely and synchronously, only the first stage missed the landing platform at sea. 3 minutes 50 seconds after takeoff, the payload fairing was blown off and the Tesla saw the light of day.
In the driver’s seat: Starman, an astronaut doll, in front of him on the screen the words “Don’t Panic!”. From the stereo of the electric car, David Bowie’s legendary song “Space Oddity” was heard (inaudible to Starman in a vacuum). Elon Musk, his staff and all space enthusiasts were cheering.
In the meantime, however, there should be little left of the beautiful red roadster: leather, rubber, fabric and paint should have largely dissolved under the influence of strong radiation and micrometeorites, but at least the aluminum frame should last for a long time. The Tesla will not come really very close either to Earth or Mars in the next few decades. Over the next millions of years its orbit could change in such a way that it collides with Earth or Venus. The last remnants of the car will then pass silently in the atmosphere of one of the planets. You can’t see it, of course, but the Where is Roadster website shows the current track.
On its maiden flight in 2018 with the Tesla, the Falcon Heavy was the most powerful launcher in the world. And it still is today. The 70-meter-high SpaceX rocket can bring up to 64 tons into a near-earth orbit – only NASA’s former Saturn V rocket and the Soviet Energija achieved more in the 1980s. And the NASA heavy-duty rocket SLS will create more at the end of the year at the earliest, the development of which has been severely delayed. Of course, the Starship from SpaceX, which is intended for Mars flights, will also achieve more, but the tests on which the tests after the recent crash landings of the Starship SN8 and SN9 are also not without problems.
New orders for SpaceX Falcon Heavy
After the maiden flight, in which the Tesla and Starman were only dummy payloads, the Falcon Heavy successfully launched two more times in April and June 2019 and put satellites into orbit for paying customers, including the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, which weighs over six tons into geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the earth. After a break last year, the Heavy is scheduled to fly again in July and October of this year – with US Air Force satellites on board. SpaceX is to receive over 200 million dollars for both transports. Further missions are planned in the following years.
And a few days ago it became known: The first two modules for the planned NASA space station in lunar orbit, the “Lunar Gateway”, will fly in 2024 on the Falcon Heavy. Almost 332 million dollars will flow to Elon Musk’s space company for this, because the Falcon Heavy needs special adjustments for this very complex transport to the moon.