February 6, 2018, was the day when SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy took off marking its maiden launch but with a special payload (or more precisely, a dummy payload). It carried a midnight cherry red Tesla Roadster which belonged to Elon Musk, and sitting inside the car was Starman, a dummy wearing SpaceX’s spacesuit.
Today, that is exactly 1 year, 6 months and 13 days after its launch, Starman completed a full trip around the Sun. Starman’s live location, as well as other details, can be checked here. Starman is currently 298 million km from Earth and is moving away at a speed of 2,005 km/h from us!
The car is 91,826,207 miles (147,780,002 km, 0.988 AU, 8.22 light minutes) light minutes from the Sun, moving away from the star at a speed of 1,723 mi/h (2,773 km/h, 0.77 km/s).
The car has exceeded its 36,000 mile warranty 21,322.7 times while driving around the Sun, (767,618,298 miles, 1,235,362,284 km, 8.26 AU) moving at a speed of 75,096 mi/h (120,855 km/h, 33.57 km/s). The orbital period is about 557 days.
Two years before the launch Elon Musk sealed Starman’s fate when he announced about the payload on Falcon Heavy’s first flight in a tweet. He said: “Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”
Launching Starman on a journey to Mars was never really the intention behind the mission. Being Falcon Heavy’s first launch, it was extremely risky to put a multi-million dollar payload aboard the craft. Even SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk admitted that the launch had a high chance of failure. SO, instead, it was decided to send a dummy payload aboard the Falcon Heavy. And that payload, as Musk announced, was his Tesla Roadster and Starman.
Surprisingly, the launch was a success and Starman found itself in space on a path to Mars. The Tesla Roadster plays on loop David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Is there Life On Mars? Currently, the Starman is 110 million km from its destination, Mars’ orbit.
I’m a physics major and a writer. My interests include theoretical physics, applied mathematics and advanced tech.