After toying with us, the world, by first claiming he was going to launch a Tesla Roadster into space, and then saying he was just kidding, Elon Musk now seems to be genuinely planning to launch his red Tesla Roadster into space as payload on SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket.
A tweet from Musk last night shows the roadster, mounted at an inspirational angle on a support scaffold that will allow it be securely placed into the Falcon Heavy’s nosecone, along with what sort of looks like the Stig sitting inside it.
It’s not the Stig, of course—the Stig’s contract forbids him from going into space without written consent from the world’s seagull population, who have not budged on this issue. Rather, that figure, clad in a SpaceX space suit, is an instrumented dummy named ‘Starman.’
Presumably, Starman will be sending back telemetry and information that can be used to determine how the Falcon Heavy would affect human passengers, and is a step to getting the rocket crew-rated, which Musk has stated is a goal, especially for future Mars missions.
The scaffolding in front of the roadster appears to have camera mounts, so we can likely expect some fun footage of Starman ‘driving’ the Roadster through the cold emptiness of space, with the top down.
Also interesting is that a number of people have noticed something on the Roadster’s dash:
That appears to be a model of the Roadster, with a model of Starman inside it. We are currently yelling “ZOOM AND ENHANCE” at the powerful Jalopnik Mainframe (located in the septic tank of Sam Kinison’s mausoleum) to determine if the model has an even smaller model on its dash, and so on, ad infinitum.
When the Falcon Heavy launches (probably) tomorrow, it will be the most powerful rocket in current service, at least until NASA’s launch of their Space Launch System (SLS) shuttle-tech-derived launch vehicle.
Let’s just hope Elon isn’t yanking our chain about launching the car again.