Just three years ago, perhaps the most inspiring start of modern space rocket launches took place.
A start by Elon Musk’s most progressive private space company, SpaceX, which made millions of people dream again.
This was a start-up performance: The first Falcon Heavy rocket, which will eventually send humans to the moon and Mars, built by SpaceX, took off successfully on February 6-7, for its first voyage in a historic test flight.
In addition to the two successful landings to reuse the rocket’s first-stage accelerators, Elon Musk sent his red Tesla car to Mars with Starman – mannequin behind the wheel, with his elbow resting on the window, and under the sound of David Bowie’s music.
Minutes after the launch, the cargo compartment lid opened and the Tesla Roadster continued its independent journey into deep space.
A day before the launch of the most powerful rocket in the history of the company SpaceX, its founder Elon Musk released a video showing the animation of all phases of the Falcon Heavy flight, including the last one where his Tesla Roadster with a mannequin will fly into outer space .
Where is the Tesla?
The sports car was scheduled to be in an elliptical orbit around the Sun, periodically approaching Mars.
The launch of the Tesla Roadster into space was simply an experiment to demonstrate the capabilities of the SpaceX launch vehicle. The electric car was mounted on the fairings of the second stage of the Falcon Heavy.
Since then, the “space driver” has been moving in space at extremely high speeds for three years.
The current location of the car is 53 million km or 2.95 light minutes from Earth, and is approaching at a speed of 10,948 km / h. At the same time, the car is 132 million km from Mars, moving away from the planet at a speed of 69,748 km / h .
The car has exceeded its warranty of 60,000 km 40 thousand times, traveling around the Sun about 2 billion and 400 thousand km at a speed of about 120 thousand km / h. or 33.32 km / sec. Its orbital period is about 557 days.
“Space Driver” Starman has made about two orbits of the Sun since the launch.
He completed his first orbit in the Sun in August 2019, according to the website whereisroadster.com, which tracks the movement of the car in space.
Before launching his Tesla, Musk said it was extremely unlikely that the car would hit Mars, and that seemed true.
According to Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard and a space flight specialist, Tesla will “get closer” to Earth in March 2021, when it will travel 45 million km from our planet. This is quite a long distance – Venus sometimes gets closer to Earth. The distance from Venus to Earth varies from 38 to 261 million kilometers.
Although the sports car fulfilled its mission a long time ago, going beyond the original predictions, this experiment showed that the Falcon Heavy can launch a payload capable of traveling in space for billions of years.
SpaceX hopes to send humans to Mars by 2030, and even Elon Musk recently said he would succeed before NASA in 2026. Deep space travel is likely to become a relatively routine job before Starman visits his home planet.