SpaceX has released pictures of a Tesla Roadster sports car mounted on a large cone inside the Falcon Heavy – the world’s most powerful rocket – that will launch as soon as next month.
“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks,” Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, said Friday on Instagram. “That seemed extremely boring. ... We decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.”
“The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit,” he added.
Musk also last week tweeted an incredible image of people next to a landed rocket to give an idea of the scale of the machines.
“Falcon Heavy launching from same @NASA pad as the Saturn V Apollo 11 moon rocket. It was 50% higher thrust with five F-1 engines at 7.5M lb-F. I love that rocket so much,” he had tweeted.
Musk also confirmed that the rocket will have a maximum thrust at lift-off, adding that the first mission will run at 92%.
The new pictures show the Roadster’s nose angled upward on its launch mount, as if it is launching off a ramp.
Musk has said there is plenty of risk involved in the Heavy’s demonstration flight from Kennedy Space Center’s historic pad 39A, site of NASA’s Apollo moon launches.