93

'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. ...


91

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


30

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

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 ...


18

Update: February 24, 2018 The 'Disco Ball': Created by Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck, the Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere made from carbon fibre with 76 highly reflective panels. It spins rapidly, reflecting the sun’s rays back to Earth, creating a flashing light that can be seen against a backdrop of stars. Visible for a few seconds, every 90 ...


16

When SpaceX launched the Falcon 1, it took them 4 times to successfully orbit the Earth. The most similar rocket to Falcon Heavy, in terms of the number of engines, the N1, made 4 attempts to reach orbit, all of which failed. The more engines, the more complex things are. The chance of a failure is extremely high on this launch. No one would be willing to ...


13

Would you be able to just jump in the car and drive it? No. Would you be able to get it roadworthy again with a little work? Maybe. The state of the car itself will come down to how well protected it is in the capsule, it's going to experience some pretty extreme fluctuations in temperature which will not be kind to electronics that aren't designed for ...


12

It can't reach Mars Orbit. That would require some kind of a long stable rocket fuel on board, and the ability to separate from the second stage, none of which appear to be the case in the rocket. Not to mention that it would require approval from the US government to do so under the planetary protection act, it doesn't have any indicator of power to keep it ...


7

In addition to all the structural and electrical perspectives, there is also the possiblity of the firmware in the ECUs being corrupted due to cosmic rays. The automobile is definitely certified for errr.. to be used on earth and not-space-hardened memory will not survive space. The car is going nowhere when the the mechanics and electrics are ready and ...


6

Nope. Silicon has a mortal enemy: radiation. Space has a lot of radiation, including charged nuclear particles coming off the sun. The computers, motor controllers, heads-up display, autopilot, and 1000 other important sub-systems in the car are driven by silicon. While it might be a very good museum piece in 100 years, it is profoundly unlikely to ever ...


6

Elon Musk gave a press conference where he talks about a lot of things, this being one of them. According to him the car has not been modified in any way. The full press conference can be seen here, and the question where Elon talks about this is asked at around 4:50 in the video. If the Tesla did re-enter Earth's atmosphere it would certainly burn up ...


5

Given the points made in the other answers (that any payload on the first launch is at high risk of loss), it seems to me there's still something useful you could do lift on a test-launch like this: Low value but high mass raw materials for something that will be assembled in orbit. Or water. Water is heavy but useful (as radiation shielding, and for ...


5

There was something useful... A commercial in the superbowl cost 5 million for 30 seconds! How much advertisement has Elon Musk just gotten for the Tesla Roadster brand? $250,000 for days and hours of video, news article, and picture time is an insanely good return on investment as far as advertising is concerned! Plus the Tesla Roadster is now the ...


5

Samantha Cristoforetti in a Star Trek uniform in the Cupola of the ISS definitely is up there in my book, but no, I think it's fair to say that the Tesla Roadster is the most gloriously silly thing to be put into space so far! From a strictly justified point of view, the roadster is a heavy Static Payload for use in testing the Falcon Heavy's ability to lug ...


4

It will be in an elliptical Heliocentric orbit with a perihelion at the Earth's distance from the sun, and an aphelion at Mars' distance from the sun. But it shouldn't get close enough to either planet to be captured by their gravity and impact, or be flung outwards by a gravity assist. The Falcon 9 second stage will put it onto this elliptical orbit.


1

The payload is immensely useful. As noted by others, a traditionally "useful" payload costs a very large amount to provide, the risk is high, and the ISS is not an available option at this stage. Instead, SpaceX, Tesla and Elon are achieving a win-win-win solution. A, or indeed arguably THE, target of Elon's efforts is to establish a Mars colony. If ...


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