90

Making a car run when it's been stored on Earth for 10 years can be a challenge. Storing it in space makes things worse. All lubricants will have evaporated. Cold welding is a possibility. The thermal environment is a variable. If the car + payload adapter tumble, the car will spend time in the shadow of the adapter, and you get thermal cycling which will ...


90

'Starman' is a mannequin (store dummy) wearing a real SpaceX developed space suit that was a qualification unit, used in designing the space suit for the Commercial Crew program. During the SpaceX Grasshopper program, where they tested landing a first stage in McGregor Texas they mounted a dummy with a cowboy hat on the base of the Grasshopper vehicle. ...


88

No, because it is not in Earth orbit First the payload does have a purpose: it is a boilerplate, and those have a purpose, namely to "test various configurations and basic size, load, and handling characteristics of rocket launch vehicles". Second, you are asking... is the car equipped with a propulsion system to change its trajectory in case of ...


66

The very first start of a new rocket is a risky endeavour. Since the system is put to test for the very first time as a whole, all kind of things can go wrong and chances are that the rocket doesn't make it into orbit. So a cheap, unimportant payload is needed for the first launch. You don't want to see something worth billions of dollars and having cost ...


65

The boosters do not have the range to get to Africa because they aren't going fast enough. If you look at the graphic below it shows a Falcon Heavy mission. The side boosters do not get very far downrange at all so they return to the cape. The drone ship for the core booster was located 1236km downrange, Africa is over 6000km downrange. The graphic came ...


64

Yes, it's space junk: after about 6 hours, the second stage will stop working and there will be no way to change the trajectory of stage and payload. So it's a non-functional satellite, i.e. junk. An object whose course cannot be controlled, and a potential future navigation hazard. It's not in Earth orbit, so it's unlikely to cause a problem here. There is ...


61

Up until this flight of Falcon Heavy, officially, SpaceX could not fully deliver a satellite to [nearly circular] GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit), but only to a [highly elliptical] GTO (Geosync Transfer Orbit) that expects the payload to circularize its own orbit once at the appropriate altitude. This consumes fuel, and fuel for station keeping is one of ...


58

First of all, a typical launch window for going towards Mars is about 2.5 hours maximum. As a goal is to send the payload towards Mars, that is one limit to the window. Also, there are a number of other factors affecting a launch. These include: Availability of the range Personnel that are required. A lot of people are required on launch day from quite ...


57

According to Elon Musk's Twitter it's in the glove compartment, alongside a copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and the Foundation series on the Arch disk.


53

The diameter of the stages is the largest size that can be transported by road without extensive "outsize load" issues (permits, having to move traffic lights and signs out of the way etc.). This makes the rocket much cheaper to transport. The fairing size (5.4 m) is dictated by the standard satellite diameter set by the Shuttle and Ariane 5.


53

He most certainly is. The seatbelt can be seen clearly across both his shoulders. It is currently unclear whether or not the miniature Starman sat on the dashboard has a seatbelt. Apparently he is also sewn into the seat. Source is Quora, so meh, but interesting.


50

Why not deliver something useful to the space station like a new living segment? Many, many reasons. A dummy payload is almost always used on the maiden flight of a new rocket. The risk of failure is too high to send anything of value as a payload. SpaceX cannot send something to the ISS just because they want to do so. They can only deliver cargo to the ...


50

The rocket is autonomous, it flies itself. The navigational math, engine, and flight dynamics of a Earth-based orbital class rocket in operation are far too complex for manual operation, especially remote manual operation. Even simpler rockets (like Apollo LEM) that could be flown manually have still attempted to offer automatic operation in the interests ...


47

The rocket probably had the power to do it, however there were numerous challenges: The Tesla is not a moon rover, its batteries and motors were not designed for a vacuum with the extremes of heat and cold it would have been exposed to on the lunar surface. The wheels are too small for rough terrain and some suspension components would crack in the extreme ...


45

Not even close. In fact, at 12 seconds in, you're looking at maximum damage to not just the pad itself, but the surrounding area as well. You're going to have tons of debris (most of it burning and possibly carrying even more unburnt fuel) fall from 1500-2000ft range in a giant umbrella of destruction. In 1997, a Delta II carrying the GPS IIR-1 satellite ...


45

Footnotes: ${}^1$ That the term "Space Junk" (as used in this answer and which is probably the right answer) has a different generally agreed meaning in spacecraft lingo than just plain "Junk" has been pointed out in this answer as well as in in this comment. No. 1. It is Space Art. It started as visual art (we watched it on YouTube, it was beautiful! (...


44

It was charred by the center core after separation: (Source: SpaceX FH launch webcast) Looking at it I would expect one side to be charred too but it may not be - the nose cone is afaik composite (same as the interstage) and not metal.


44

Because of accidents of geography and history. Both of the main US launch sites are where they are because rockets occasionally crash, and, for fully fueled heavy lift vehicles, worst-case impacts have yields approaching that of nuclear detonations. So they were sited to fire out over the ocean for the longest possible distances to minimize potential ...


43

If it looked something like this: ...then what you saw was very likely the 3rd burn of the second stage of the Falcon Heavy test flight, which sent the Roadster into orbit around the sun. The burn lasted several minutes, and was seen from southern California, New Mexico, Mexico, and Arizona.


41

Could you fit all six into a FH fairing? If not, would a slightly larger one be enough? I can't find dimensions for GPS III sats, but this Lockheed Martin image shows how much of a Delta Medium 4-meter fairing is taken up by a single one: Looking at the dimensions of the fairing in the Payload Guide, I think the satellite is about 5m long by 2.5m wide. ...


39

Elon Musk made reference to the "Holy Mouse Click" that happens right before they start loading fuel. From that point forward, the rocket will launch itself at the planned time, about 2 hours in the future, unless something happens that stops it prematurely. I'm not sure if there are other prompts that are required, but things are pretty automatic. In ...


38

The core has been lost, according to the technical stream: If you wait until ~38 min and 30 seconds, the announcer says "We lost the center core". Update: Elon Musk has confirmed that the center core didn't make it. To paraphrase from the SpaceX post-launch news conference The center core obviously didn't land on the ...


33

It’s a sense of scale issue. As much as the struts might look like flimsy bits of drainpipe, those rockets are around 15 meters wide, and the struts are more like the heavy steel beams used to hold up entire buildings. So yes, they’re just really strong.


30

The boosters are in a row because it's easy to assemble them horizontally when they're in a row. If they were stacked, the lower 2 stages would have to carry the weight of the third, so they'd need to be made stronger. The plan is also to have the center core to run at a lower thrust setting. In a triangle setup with the 3 cores as they are now, i.e. 1 ...


30

It'll take a hot minute. According to the FlightClub.io simulation, the Falcon Heavy flight will be doing 138.7 m/s (496 km/h) at the 30 second mark, beating the Koenigsegg Agera RS. It should hit 341.5 m/s (1228 km/h) at 59 seconds into the flight, exceeding the speed of the ThrustSSC. It's been noted that the lunar rovers flown on the later Apollo ...


29

I first need to know if starman is a real human or a robot. Starman is the name given to the mannequin/space suit occupying the driver's seat of the car. It is not human nor is it a robot. If he is a real human, how does he live? If it were human, the spacex suit is meant to be used pressurized. Details about the suit have not been provided other ...


29

They could certainly crash an empty upperstage into the moon, they could do this with just a regular Falcon 9. However, the Liquid Oxygen would boil off before they could attempt to land using the 2nd stage, as the trip to the moon is several days long. They can launch a Dragon capsule towards the moon, and could even get it into a free return trajectory ...


28

Let's look at some of the biggest stressors in the Tesla-Probe's lifetime- Launch- This will be a very stressful time. The car will be subject to around 3g for a few minutes, in a direction that it isn't accustomed to having any kind of force. Luckily the unofficial side-view of the Roadster shows that it is almost certainly mounted by the frame of the car, ...


27

I haven't been able to find any statements on the exact target orbit, but the general consensus is that the payload won't be in orbit around Mars, it will be in an eliptical orbit around the sun and 'touch' the area of space that Mars orbits within. Reaching an orbit around Mars requires much more fuel, the real goal of this launch is to test the rockets ...


27

The time didn't line up right, and the payload didn't meet planetary protection standards. The nearest launch window opens in June of this year. MAVEN will take advantage of it. To actually go to Mars, it would have to meet planetary protection standards, and I don't think a used car would qualify. What they did instead was to demonstrate they could go to ...


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