Serial entrepreneur and tech visionary Elon Musk is planning to send a red electric sports vehicle made by one of his companies into outer space on a massive rocket ship made by another one of his companies.
The business magnate tweeted: "Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity". With more than 5.1 million pounds of thrust at sea level, the Falcon Heavy is slated to become the most powerful rocket now in use. "Just like the first flight of a new jumbo jet doesn't go with a full complement of passengers, it makes sense to do a launch where you can learn a lot but the payload isn't mission critical". It's a more powerful rocket that the company hopes to use for missions to the Moon and Mars.
Launching something into orbit really is "rocket science" and such activity is often affected by technology challenges each of which have to be tested and the road to launch near-perfection is littered with the history of lost rockets, and sometimes their cargo.
CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company is aiming to send it to the Martian orbit next month from the same iconic launch pad where Apollo 11 took off.
The curiously long interstellar visitor, the most elongated asteroid ever seen to the fascination of space scientists, is headed out of our solar system at 58,000 miles per hour and it would require that the probe would slingshot past Jupiter and dip close to the sun to pick up speed to catch up to Oumuamua. That date has slipped, not least because of early problems with the Falcon 9's engine cluster, and launch failures. "But maybe one of the future launches could be used".