Ruthless fate awaits Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster floating in space


The previous record was nine engines, jointly held by SpaceX's Falcon 9 and the Rocket Lab Electron. And Musk's Roadster became the fastest auto ever, hurtling off the planet and zooming away on a route that will now take it all the way to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. That means, according to the delivery-time notice from Tesla that McCaffrey posted on Twitter, that while reservation holders for the long-range vehicle have delivery scheduled for March to May, those who ordered the cheaper auto or the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version have delivery set at "late 2018". Nonetheless, Falcon Heavy's coming-out-party can only be hailed as a major success, and it could herald a new era of space exploration. Viewers from around the world live streamed to watch Starman ride in Musk's red Roadster with images of Earth in the background. Plans for a Falcon Heavy-powered manned journey around the Moon have been afoot for several years, but Musk recently indicated that these may be tabled in order to focus development on SpaceX's next big project: the BFR (Big Falcon/F***ing Rocket).

The claim that SpaceX made an offer to fly more serious payloads on what's now the world's most powerful operational rocket might make some people feel better about the "Tesla gimmick".

It's not meant as a criticism aimed at Musk - on the contrary, he needed a payload for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and he got one that would benefit two of his companies at once.

The vehicle will take at least six months to travel the 200 million miles to Mars.

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"It can launch payloads straight to Pluto and can launch giant satellites", Musk said Tuesday.

If we hear more from SpaceX or NASA, we'll update this post.

"So if you take four years, I think, 100,000 units a year is a reasonable expectation", he says.

SpaceX's latest "first" - juggling multiple simultaneous rocket landings. If NASA and the Air Force turned down an offer, it's more likely because they didn't have the right kind of spacecraft ready for launch on a rocket that might well have blown up.

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This fact should make SpaceX the default choice for any satellite operator, space station builder, or asteroid miner that needs to launch anything truly massive into space. Hundreds of media representatives reported on the event, one of the biggest turnouts since the last space shuttle launch in July 2011 and NASA's Orion capsule flight test in December 2014.

But SpaceX reportedly offered NASA and the Air Force a chance to put a payload on the rocket at no cost before deciding to launch the auto.

"We want a new space race, " he said.

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