CEO of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk gave us all a sneak peek at his Falcon Heavy rocket that is expected to take flight in January 2018. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland). Buzz60
MELBOURNE, Fla. — Can you feel it?
SpaceX has revealed pictures of a Tesla Roadster sports car mounted inside the nose cone that will launch atop the Falcon Heavy — the world’s new most powerful rocket — as soon as next month.
“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks,” Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, said Friday on Instagram. “That seemed extremely boring. ... We decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel.”
Musk says the midnight cherry red Roadster (his own, according to previous posts) is bound for the Red Planet “on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit.”
Translation: The convertible will end up in an orbit around the sun that takes it “near Mars,” said Phil Plait, aka "The Bad Astronomer."
“This is a low-energy orbit; that is, it takes the least amount of energy to put something in this orbit from Earth,” Plait wrote in SYFY Wire. “That makes sense for a first flight.”
The new pictures show the Roadster’s nose angled upward on its launch mount, as if it is launching off a ramp.
Musk has said there is plenty of risk involved in the Heavy’s demonstration flight from Kennedy Space Center’s historic pad 39A, site of NASA’s Apollo moon launches.
“Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent,” he said on Twitter. “Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another.”
The pictures further dispelled any notions Musk was kidding when on Dec. 1 he first announced plans to launch the car, whose radio will play David Bowie’s Space Oddity. SpaceX said shortly afterward that it was no joke.
The company said it is open to ideas from the public on additional payloads that could fly.
As anticipation about the test launch builds, SpaceX fans are eager to see a test-firing of the 27 Merlin engines powering the Heavy’s three side-by-side boosters, capable of producing up to 5.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.
That’s about twice as powerful as the next most powerful rocket available today, United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy. NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, which is targeting a first launch by mid-2020, will generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust, the most ever.
The static fire test was possible before the end of the year, but SpaceX has not confirmed any plans.
Another dramatic aspect of the demonstration flight is the potential to see all three of the Heavy’s boosters land — the two side stages back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the middle one on a “drone ship” floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
The side boosters are what SpaceX calls “flight proven,” having previously launched missions as single-stick Falcon 9 rockets.
No date is set for the Falcon Heavy launch. SpaceX already has as many as three Falcon 9 launches scheduled in January — two from Cape Canaveral and one from California.
The first of those could launch a classified U.S. government satellite from the Cape as soon as Jan. 4. The others are targeted for late in the month.
SpaceX on Friday completed its best year yet with a sunset launch of Iridium satellites from California. The spectacular sight of the rocket’s plume glowing over Los Angeles sparked some speculation about UFOs.
SpaceX in 2017 launched 18 missions, including five on recycled Falcon boosters, and landed 14 first-stage boosters.
More launches may be on tap in 2018 now that the company has both its Florida pads online at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The latter reopened in mid-December after more than a year of repairs and upgrades after a September 2016 Falcon 9 explosion on the pad at Launch Complex 40.
SpaceX and Boeing both say the New Year could include the first launch of astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011.
Follow James Dean on Twitter: @flatoday_jdean
SpaceX has racked up another first, launching a recycled rocket with a recycled capsule on a NASA grocery run. (Dec. 15) AP
Elon Musk says he is not behind Bitcoin. Buzz60
Tesla unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles on an electric charge - even with a full 80,000-pound load. (Nov. 17) AP
During a test at its McGregor, Texas development facility, SpaceX blew up an experimental engine on Saturday. SpaceX says no one was injured in the incident and the damage done to the engine-testing bay won't delay the company's busy launch schedule. USA TODAY
Tesla has solar projects on smaller islands, and Musk thinks they should be scalable to larger ones like Puerto Rico. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Elon Musk has spent $72 million on homes in California. His most recent mansion was more than $24 million. Time
Tesla has reported its biggest ever quarterly loss, as it spent more to speed up production of the Model 3 - it's first mass market car. Jane Lanhee Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters Newslook
SpaceX founder Elon Musk unveiled plans to put humans on Mars as early as 2024. Musk said SpaceX's upcoming BFR mega-rocket can take dozens of people to the moon and to Mars and can also fly from New York to Tokyo in less than 30 minutes. (Sept. 29) AP
Elon Musk has shared a picture of his futuristic tunnel for high-speed travel and it looks awesome. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@FantasticMrNate) has the story. Buzz60
As the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk is arguably at the forefront of electric vehicles, and yet the billionaire admits to owning two gas cars! Buzz60
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has some "big freaking" plans for his latest rocket project. USA TODAY
Elon Musk and Space X detail their plans for intercontinental space travel that will get passengers to any destination in the world in under one hour. Tony Spitz has the whole story. Buzz60
Elon Musk says global race for artificial intelligence will cause World War III. Elizabeth Keatinge (@elizkeatinge) has more. Buzz60
Elon Musk, CEO of private spaceflight company SpaceX, shared a photo, showing the company’s sleek new spacesuit design. Aidan Kelley has the details. Buzz60
Love exists, but they are not together. Reports swirled over the weekend that the entrepreneur, Elon Musk, and Amber called it quits, after publicizing their couple status in April. USA TODAY
Tesla had roughly 63,000 people cancel their order for the companies Model 3 car in the last year. Buzz60
Tesla is developing a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in "platoons" that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype. USA TODAY
Musk tweeted he has "verbal [government] approval" to build an underground hyperloop on the East Coast. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
As Elon Musk confirms he's received "govt approval" for the up-and-coming travel system, companies race to be the first to implement the breathtakingly fast technology. USA TODAY
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed on Sunday that the first of the highly anticipated Model 3 line has rolled off the production line. Newslook
He outlines his plan in a 16-page commentary. Time
Tesla founder Elon Musk shared a picture of what seems to be his tunnel boring efforts in Los Angeles. Veuer's Lindsey Granger has more. Buzz60
Elon Musk has a new idea for beating L.A. traffic. He calls it The Boring Company. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Billionaire Elon Musk announced on twitter his latest project to dig holes through the ground in order to avoid traffic. USA TODAY
Test your knowledge of Tesla's CEO and be prepared to be surprised. Time
Elon Musk has called artificial intelligence "a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization." Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have very differing opinions of artificial intelligence, and their battle is heating up. Time
It’s the first look at his underground tunnel system. Time
The CEO of SpaceX says he can drive down the cost of space travel — and he isn't alone in his endeavors. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Elon Musk Promised South Australia 100MW of Batteries in 100 Days or Its Free. South Australia has suffered through six months of intermittent black outs. The failures have become a major political issue in Australia. The centre-right Federal government has been blaming the outages on the opposition-party State government's drive to install renewable energy production. Tesla's ability to deliver cheap batteries has increased since the opening of its $5 billion factory near Sparks, Nevada in 2016. The factory is expected to produce enough lithium ion batteries to store 35 gigawatt-hours of power, equivalent to all the lithium ion batteries produced globally in 2013. Video provided by TheStreet Newslook
Elon Musk is the most important person on Twitter. Elizabeth Keatinge (@elizkeatinge) has more. Buzz60
SpaceX has announced plans for a new system of rockets for taking astronauts to Mars. Newslook
Amber Heard has already moved on from Johnny Depp, and this time she's with Elon Musk. Keri Lumm (@thekerilumm) reports on their "cheeky" relationship. Buzz60
Elon Musk wants to link human brains with computers. The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors is exploring just such a connection through another company he has launched, called Neuralink. USA TODAY
The company ranked near the bottom in Consumer Reports' new reliability survey. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
The Boring Company is making some progress. Time
April 7 -- For the first time ever, NASA has been relying on private companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX for re-supply missions; only that's just the beginning. This QuickTake examines the future of space tourism using private space taxis. Bloomberg
Billionaire Elon Musk visited the Pentagon on Wednesday possibly to discuss the creation of a "flying metal suit". Video by Chelsea Land for USA TODAY
Already creating quite a buzz in the years since it was announced, Elon Musks Hyperloop project now wants your help. A competition is on for the best ideas at designing the pods that will whisk passengers around at super-fast speeds. Brett Larson ex Buzz60
If Elon Musk gets his way, your Internet coverage will soon be beamed down from space. The billionaire entrepreneur has requested permission from the US government to test a project which he claims "would be like rebuilding the Internet". USA TODAY
Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils Powerwall, a device that stores energy absorbed by solar panels, for use when the sun is down. The technology is based on the electric batteries that run Teslas. Laura Mandaro reports.
- SpaceX 1st: Recycled rocket, recycled capsule
- Elon Musk reacts to rumor that he created Bitcoin
- Raw: Tesla introduces new electric truck
- SpaceX rocket engine explodes
- Elon Musk thinks Tesla can rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid
- See inside Elon Musk’s $17 million Bel Air mansions
- Tesla posts biggest ever quarterly loss
- Elon Musk unveils plans to put humans on Mars
- Elon Musk shares first pic of futuristic underground L.A. tunnel
- Telsa CEO Elon Musk actually owns two gas cars
- Elon Musk is building a 'big freaking rocket' to colonize Mars
- This spaceship will take you ‘anywhere on Earth in under an hour’
- Elon Musk says global race for A.I. will cause WW3
- Elon Musk reveals new spaceX spacesuit
- Elon Musk confirms Amber Heard split
- Tesla has suffered around 63,000 canceled orders for its Model 3
- Tesla developing self-driving tech for semi-truck
- Elon Musk wants to build a hyperloop on the East Coast
- Hyperloop travel closer to reality than you think
- Twitter-happy Musk revealed the first Model 3 to roll off the line
- Elon Musk plans to create a self-sustaining city on Mars
- Elon Musk may have unveiled first glimpse of secret tunnel
- Elon musk's 'Boring' new business idea could help L.A. traffic
- Elon Musk's building a 'boring' tunnel
- How well do you know Elon Musk?
- Elon musk likes most technology, but he wants one sector regulated
- Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are sparring over AI
- This is what Elon Musk hopes the future will look like
- Elon musk thinks he has a way to make colonizing Mars cheaper
- Elon Musk offered to end an energy crisis down under
- Elon Musk is the 'most important' person on Twitter
- Elon musk presents transportation plans for colonizing Mars
- Amber Heard and Elon Musk make their relationship Instagram official
- Elon Musk seeks to link brain to computers
- For Tesla, innovation comes at a price — reliability
- Here's a first look at Elon Musk’s incredible boring machine
- Here's How Elon Musk Plans to Send Tourists to Space
- Elon Musk may create "Flying metal suit"
- Elon Musk wants your help for his Hyperloop
- Elon Musk plans to provide internet from space
- Elon Musk is selling battery packs for houses