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94 votes
Accepted

Is Starman in the Tesla Roadster a real human?

'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 ...
geoffc's user avatar
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93 votes
Accepted

Can I drive Elon Musk's Tesla after it's been in space for 100 Years?

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 ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
89 votes

Is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload (a Tesla car) space junk?

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 ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 1,819
67 votes

Why is the first launch of Falcon Heavy sending a car instead of something useful?

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 ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.5k
63 votes

Is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload (a Tesla car) space junk?

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 ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
62 votes
Accepted

Why did the Tesla Roadster spend time in the Van Allen belt?

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 ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.9k
59 votes

What is that haze on Starman's windshield?

My (somewhat educated) speculation: deposited contaminants due to outgassing from the various polymers on the dashboard and/or the hood. Vacuum and UV exposure tend to break down nearly every ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 17.3k
57 votes

In Starman's roadster, where's the Towel?

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.
CBredlow's user avatar
  • 1,247
51 votes

Why is the first launch of Falcon Heavy sending a car instead of something useful?

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 ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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49 votes
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Could the Lunar X-Prize have been won by the Tesla Roadster that was the Falcon Heavy test payload?

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 ...
GdD's user avatar
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46 votes
Accepted

Why does this plot show Starman's speed relative to the Sun fluctuating so often?

As was astutely noted by Hans, the period of the movement was about 25 days. It turns out that is the time it takes for the sun to rotate once. When I was grabbing the data from JPL Horizons, I listed ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
42 votes

Is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload (a Tesla car) space junk?

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
31 votes
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How long will it take Elon Musk's roadster to become the fastest ever car?

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 ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
31 votes

What is that haze on Starman's windshield?

I've personally witnessed a similar phenomenon. Car Windshields are not solid glass, they are two layers of glass sandwiching a layer of urethane in a molecular bond. I was once in an armored vehicle ...
TCAT117's user avatar
  • 473
31 votes

Is Starman in the Tesla Roadster a real human?

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 ...
Adam Davis's user avatar
  • 1,103
29 votes
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How can Elon Musk's Tesla actually reach Mars orbit?

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 '...
Bazul's user avatar
  • 406
29 votes

Can I drive Elon Musk's Tesla after it's been in space for 100 Years?

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 ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
27 votes
Accepted

Why didn't they launch the Falcon Heavy to be injected into Mars orbit?

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,...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
23 votes

Starman/Roadster in a=1.795 AU orbit, now what's the method to this madness?

I think it's safe to say there's no particular plan here. Musk was never very specific as to what they would do with the roadster if it was successful (which Musk pegged at 50% at best). Reality is ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 7,905
22 votes

Would you be able to hear the radio playing in the Falcon Heavy Tesla car?

Yes, if you placed your helmet on the door frame (assuming the loudspeaker is placed in the door) and made sufficient contact to hear contact noise. The loudspeaker vibrates the whole door. This ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
20 votes

Could the Lunar X-Prize have been won by the Tesla Roadster that was the Falcon Heavy test payload?

Without changes, no. The Falcon Heavy test didn't include a lander, so no way to get the Roadster to the Moon in one piece. You need about 2.5 km/s of delta-V to get from Earth escape to the lunar ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
20 votes
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If we used Hubble, or the James Webb Space Telescope, how good image could we get of the Starman?

The angular resolution of the Hubble and James Webb telescopes are about the same - both are around $0.05$ to $0.1$ arc seconds or about $4 \times 10^{-7}$ radians. If we express the angle $\theta$ in ...
John Rennie's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

JWST observing cherry red Tesla roadster

First of all, can the color even be seen? James Webb has a spectrum of 600 nm at the lowest end, which means it can just barely see the color red. In addition, it could potentially be seen in other ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
19 votes

Is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy payload (a Tesla car) space junk?

It depends. In the industry, the concern with space junk is whether or not certain objects are a navigational hazard. If the Falcon Heavy payload were on a collision course with an active spacecraft, ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
19 votes
Accepted

Is SpaceX doing any science with the Roadster and/or spacesuit?

The upper stage, coasted, through the Van Allen belts for 6 hours, and restarted to demonstrate that capability for the US Military customers for direct GEO insertion missions. The Roadster/Starman ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.9k
18 votes
Accepted

Has any payload been as silly, as the Falcon Heavy's Tesla Roadster?

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 ...
Rob's user avatar
  • 3,276
17 votes
Accepted

Where are all those blocks of steel and concrete now?

I have collected a list of orbital mass simulator launches and their fates: Antares A-ONE, mass simulator Orbit: approximately 150 by 160 miles (240 km x 260 km) with an inclination of 51.6 degrees ...
Mark Omo's user avatar
  • 5,291
17 votes

If we used Hubble, or the James Webb Space Telescope, how good image could we get of the Starman?

Hubble is one of the few telescopes that could possibly image Starman, as a dot. James Webb will have far more sensitivity. It's a really small space rock in a really big space. You can take a look at ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
16 votes

Why is the first launch of Falcon Heavy sending a car instead of something useful?

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 ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
16 votes
Accepted

Why does Starman/Roadster have radial acceleration?

Sunlight pressure. The acceleration is 9.08 μN / m2 (Assuming perfect reflectivity). The size is about 3.66* 12.6 = 46 m2. That gives a thrust of about 414 uN. The mass is about 1300 kg. Thus the ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k

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