When he’s not too busy selling flamethrowers to the masses, Elon Musk busies himself with his private space enterprise, SpaceX. Aside from frightening the California coast, Musk’s extraterrestrial endeavor has long-served as a contractor for NASA by rocketing supplies to and from the International Space Station. Now the company is about to test out the Falcon Heavy rocket, “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” with a launch currently scheduled for Tuesday. If successful, the new rocket will revolutionize the industry — but not before it puts a car into orbit.
Carrying SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster, complete with a space-suited “Starman” mannequin strapped in the driver’s seat, the Falcon Heavy is scheduled for launch at 1:30 p.m. EST (GMT-5), the opening of a three-hour window. Forecasters predicted an 80 percent chance of good weather.
Musk, who posted the above animation to YouTube early Monday, later remarked they were “green for launch” for Tuesday’s designated window. Possessing “the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons,” SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy “was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.” Whether or not Tesla Roadsters will serve a viable function on Mars remains to be seen, though that’s not the point. Musk’s car will be serving as a “test payload” for the inaugural launch. Also, it just looks really cool.
(Via CBS News)