SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently tweeted that his company would test launch Falcon Heavy, its most powerful rocket, into space next month.
Destination: Mars orbit.
But here's the fun part: Musk's "midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity," will be the rocket's payload, according to a separate tweet by the tech billionaire.
Musk has also openly spoken about the "non-zero chance" that Falcon Heavy will explode during its first flight. The payload "[w]ill be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent," he tweeted.
Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep… https://t.co/clunBATxJr— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)1512181321.0
What is Falcon Heavy?
Falcon Heavy is a blend of three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, according to Tech Times.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 is a two-stage reusable rocket, the first of its class, designed to minimize the number of separation events that occur during launch. It has nine first-stage engines, giving it the capability to complete its mission even if it loses an engine, according to SpaceX.
Therefore, it will have three times the thrust of Falcon 9. Falcon Heavy is capable of carrying 17 metric tons of cargo to Mars' orbit, Quartz reported, or 63 metric tons to low-Earth orbit. The company plans to use the rocket for missions to the moon and Mars.
Where will it launch?
It will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"Falcon Heavy to launch next month from Apollo 11 pad at the Cape," Musk tweeted. "Will have double thrust of next largest rocket. Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another."
Falcon Heavy to launch next month from Apollo 11 pad at the Cape. Will have double thrust of next largest rocket. G… https://t.co/oaQGB9rzEG— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)1512181032.0
SpaceX said it plans to recover all three rocket cores that power the Falcon Heavy, The Verge reported.
SpaceX, founded in 2002, hopes to send its first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. The mission would identify hazards, confirm water resources, and start creating the infrastructure necessary for a second trip in 2024 carrying cargo and crew, according to Tech Times.
The company eventually wants to create a self-sustaining city on the red planet.