Starman Departs Earth Driving Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Sports Car on Interplanetary Journey to Mars Orbit and Beyond: Gallery

Last photo of space
suited Starman mannequin driving SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster on Feb.
8, 2018
on its journey to Mars
orbit and then the Asteroid Belt after launch atop Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6
2018 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.   Credit: SpaceX/Elon Musk

Ken Kremer 
—  —   8 Feb 2018

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Driving Elon Musk’s
personal Tesla Roadster sports car, the space suited mannequin nicknamed ‘Starman’
departed Earth on an interplanetary journey to Mars orbit and beyond, while snapping
a stunning over the shoulders last look backdropped by our Home Planet on Feb.
8 – see above.

SpaceX CEO and billionaire founder Elon Musk
released the last photo taken by the rear view looking camera mounted on the cherry
red Tesla on Feb. 8, two days after the Tesla was hurled to orbit outbound for
the Red Planet by the first test flight of his firms new Falcon Heavy rocket.

pic of Starman in Roadster on its journey to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid
Belt,” Musk tweeted along with the photo of Earth.   

inaugural test flight of the triple stick Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off in
spectacular fashion from
historic pad 39A at NASA’s
Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Tuesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. EST

(2045 GMT) on Feb. 6, 2018.

The Falcon Heavy is now the world’s most powerful currently
operational rocket with twice the lifting ability of the next most powerful
rocket- the Delta IV Heavy from United Launch Alliance.   

The Falcon Heavy can loft 140,000 pounds (64000 kg) of
payload to low Earth orbit.  

The Tesla
Roadster itself had a mass of about 2,760 pounds (1,250 kilograms), well within
the capability of the Falcon Heavy. Although it served as a mass simulator, it
generated astronomical amounts of positive publicity worldwide for SpaceX, Musk
and his Tesla sports cars.    

Starman’ was launched
as the payload encapsulated inside the nose cone atop the 23 story tall Falcon
Heavy on the journey to Mars and Beyond to the tune of David Bowie’s hit song ‘Space

The dummy astronaut nicknamed ‘Starman in the Red Roadster’ from Musk
is wearing a SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut spacesuit, and buckled up sitting in
the driver’s seat for the long journey to Mars. Starman is another Bowie hit

The Tesla Roadster was initially hurled to Earth orbit after
the 27 first stage Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited to generate almost 5
million pounds of liftoff thrust fueled by liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene

The second stage then fired two times as planned 8 minutes
and 28 minutes to deliver the Tesla to
elliptical orbit reaching about 7,000 kilometers (2700 mi) above Earth.

Six hours later SpaceX mission controllers fired the second
stage a third time that continued to depletion of the on board propellants.

“Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going
to the Asteroid Belt,” Musk tweeted.

Musk also
published a trajectory map.

Trajectory map of
Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster to Mars and beyond following Feb. 6, 2018 launch on
first SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Credit: SpaceX

A trio of cameras
mounted around Musk’s Tesla provided breathtaking views of the journey starting
from jettison of the payload fairing, the initial orbit around Earth and
finally the start of the outbound leg on a long looping heliocentric orbit
around the sun.

The dummy Starman was
wearing a genuine spacesuit while seated as the driver in SpaceX billionaire
 CEO Elon Musk’s midnight red Tesla sports car which he donated as the
payload for this inaugural demonstration mission for the firm he founded.

The black and white spacesuit
was developed for real astronauts who will wear it inside the Crew Dragon
spaceship which SpaceX is building under contract to NASA to ferry astronauts to
Low Earth Orbit and missions to trips to the International Space Station (ISS).
Here’s collection
of unforgettable images transmitted from the Tesla.

SpaceX beamed
live video from the Tesla during the climb to Earth orbit and thereafter.

At a post launch
briefing held at the Kennedy Space Center press site Musk said the battery for
the video camera transmission would last about 12 hours.

It wound up
surviving longer, for roughly 2 days.  

Watch the video

Video Caption: Live Views of Starman. Credit: SpaceX

And be sure to check
out our growing galleries of additional photos captured of the launch and twin
landings of the side boosters back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl some
eight minutes after the Feb. 6 debut blastoff.

Check back as the gallery grows.

The Falcon Heavy is now
the most powerful rocket to launch since NASA’s Space Shuttles were retired in

Sporting 5.1 million
pounds of liftoff from the combined thrust of the 27 Merlin 1D first stage
engines, the Falcon Heavy is equivalent to 18 Boeing 747s.  
Read our detailed prelaunch
and launch stories.  
for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of Falcon Heavy, ULA and NASA and
space mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: – –
twitter @ken_kremer –

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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