A Powerful Rocket
The Falcon Heavy will generate more than 5 million lbs. of thrust at liftoff, making it twice as powerful as any other booster operating today, SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk has said.
Falcon Heavy Upper Stage
The Heavy's upper stage is similar to that of a Falcon 9, powered by a single Merlin engine.
Headed for a Billion-Year Orbit
"Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring," Musk wrote on Instagram in December 2017. "Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel. The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing 'Space Oddity,' on a billion-year elliptic Mars orbit."
Red Car, Red Planet
The Roadster's color is a nod to Mars, which the car will approach at times during its long loop around the sun. The car won't actually land or, or orbit, the Red Planet, however.
Tesla Roadster: Another View
Mars has long been in SpaceX's sights. Musk aims to help establish a million-person city on the Red Planet in the next half-century or so, using a rocket-spaceship combo called the BFR — the next-generation heavy-lifter after Falcon Heavy.
Dwarfed by the Fairing
The Roadster gives some perspective, showing how big the Heavy's payload fairing is.
Ready to Launch
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster isn't the first weird payload to launch on a SpaceX rocket's debut flight. The first Falcon 9 launch carried, of all things, a wheel of cheese into space.
Will the Roadster Survive?
The maiden flights of new rockets don't always go well, and Musk has said there's a good chance the Falcon Heavy won't survive its upcoming liftoff. "I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest," he said at a conference last July.
A Megarocket Slumber
SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket, a massive heavy-lift launch vehicle, is seen during assembly ahead of its first test flight from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX performed the first static-fire test of a Falcon Heavy rocket core at the company's Texas test facility in early May 2017.