The FAA grants SpaceX permission to launch a 2008 midnight cherry red Tesla Roadster into space using the most powerful rocket in the world.
At 1:30pm ET today, SpaceX expects to carry out the first test flight of Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world. The good news for Elon Musk is, the FAA decided to approve the payload, which consists of Musk’s 2008 midnight cherry red Tesla Roadster with a “Starman” dummy at the wheel.
As Business Insider reports, the approval by the Federal Aviation Administration was given on Friday, with the notice specifically authorizing, “A flight of the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) transporting the modified Tesla Roadster (mass simulator) to a hyperbolic orbit.”
We’ve known about Musk’s desire to launch his Tesla into space since December, but it wasn’t until last week the required government nod was given. The Falcon Heavy it will be sitting on top of will have no trouble lifting the 2 ton weight of the car. It uses three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores (27 Merlin engines) to generate 5 million pounds of thrust and can carry over 54 metric tons (119,000 pounds) of payload.
If the launch goes to plan today, the Roadster will be launched into space where it will travel at 11km/s (7m/s) and 400 million kilometers (250 million miles) from Earth. Musk hopes the car will achieve “a billion year elliptic Mars orbit” and travel on an infinite loop between Mars and the sun.
Each Falcon Heavy launch costs about $90 million. Launching a Tesla on the test flight may seem crazy, but SpaceX and Musk need a successful launch with a lot of publicity so potential customers take notice and decide to use Falcon Heavy in future. Musk certainly grabbed the media’s attention, now all he needs if a faultless launch later today.