A day ahead of the planned demonstration launch of SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket, CEO Elon Musk released a simulation video of a Tesla Roadster, the demonstration payload, going to Mars.
A few weeks ago, Musk announced the plan on Twitter to some skepticism, but it was confirmed a few weeks later with pictures of the Roadster installed on a SpaceX payload attach fitting.
Since the mission is at a higher risk of failure due to being the rocket’s first launch, they wanted to use a demonstration payload, which generally only consist of weights.
But Musk, who said that the Tesla Roadster has a sentimental value to him, described his motivation for sending the electric vehicle instead:
“I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future.”
We get a better idea of what he had in mind with this new demonstration video that he shared today:
SpaceX’s video description:
“When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy’s first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.
Following liftoff, the two side boosters separate from the center core and return to landing sites for future reuse. The center core, traveling further and faster than the side boosters, also returns for reuse, but lands on a drone ship located in the Atlantic Ocean. At max velocity the Roadster will travel 11 km/s (7mi/s) and travel 400 million km (250 million mi) from Earth. 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.”
Liftoff is planned for 1:30pm ET tomorrow if the conditions are good.
You will be able to watch the launch live on SpaceX’s website and see if it actually turns out like in the simulation video.