SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch A Success; Tesla Roadster And Starman Begin Their Journey
Earlier this afternoon, as a multitude of anxious space exploration fans watched with bated breath, the Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. With all 27 individual Merlin engines lit, the trio of boosters providing more than 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy became the world’s most powerful rocket currently in service, officially launching us into a second Space Age.
Once the first stage was complete, the spent rockets were jettisoned and aimed back at Earth. Moments later, the two side boosters successfully touched down simultaneously on the ground in Florida. The third booster was supposed to land on a drone ship out in the Atlantic, but as it approached, the camera feed cut out due to the extreme vibrations. It’s not yet known if it landed successfully or not, but it’s believed to have crashed into the ocean.
The reusable rockets were designed to make space flight less expensive in the long run. Each Falcon Heavy launch is expected cost around $90 million, while similar flights from government organizations like NASA could cost upwards of $1 billion.
Most importantly though, the Falcon Heavy successfully delivered its payload into orbit. Strapped to the tip of the Falcon Heavy was a first-generation Tesla Roadster (painted in red, or course), complete with “Starman” strapped in at the wheel (Starman being a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit). On the Roadster’s primary infotainment screen were the words “Don’t Panic!”, a reference to Douglas Adam’s classic novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
The goal is to get the Roadster and its Starman passenger into an orbit around the sun that’ll take it by Mars, with the intention being to eventually launch a manned mission to the Red Planet. This successful test launch is the first big step towards that goal. But before it slingshots through the solar system, the Roadster will need to pass through the radiation-filled Van Allen belts, after which there will be a final burn to send Starman towards our planetary neighbor.
Since the launch, social media has been filled with breathtaking imagery, including several shots taken live from the space-traveling drop-top. Make sure to check out the live feed of Starman on YouTube.
Elon Musk is Launching His 2008 Tesla Roadster into Space Today
What does a CEO of both an automaker and a rocketmaker do to cross-promote? Why launch a sports car into space. That’s exactly what Elon Musk is doing with his personal 2008 Tesla Roadster during today’s first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
The rocket will launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, February 6 with its flight computer programmed for Mars. “[It’s a] red car for a red planet,” Musk tweeted back in December. The module atop the Falcon Heavy will then enter a hyperbolic orbit between Mars and the Sun, which it could theoretically maintain for a billion years. Better yet, the car’s radio will be playing Zarathustra, the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A mannequin affectionately named “Starman” will also be behind the wheel a wearing a SpaceX spacesuit.
The Falcon Heavy rocket is a huge milestone for SpaceX. While the Tesla Roadster is more of a silly payload, this trial launch will prove SpaceX has its math right. The Falcon Heavy is currently the largest and most powerful rocket in operation and is second only to NASA’s mighty Saturn V rocket used during the Apollo series in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Falcon Heavy is said to have a payload capacity of 70 tons – roughly 2.6 times that of NASA’s shuttle orbiter.
Like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon Heavy’s main stage will launch its payload toward space before separating and landing itself back on earth. The second stage will continue to run as it escapes earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Of course, Musk isn’t planning to send a fleet of Tesla vehicles into space, but rather has plans for manned missions to the Moon and then onto Mars.
The launch is scheduled to happen between 1:30 and 4:30 pm EST from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, the same one used for Apollo and Shuttle launches.
Elon Musk Demonstrates Falcon Heavy Launch With Tesla Roadster And Starman Payload
We here at TopSpeed are getting stoked for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and this latest animation is just fanning the flames. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to blast off at 1:30 EST from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Powered by 27 individual Merlin first-stage rockets doling out a combined 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy will be carrying a payload consisting of a first-gen Tesla Roadster, plus “Starman,” a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit, in the driver’s seat.
At about 3-and-a-half minutes in length, the video is an animation that walks us through each stage of the mission, from initial takeoff, to the booster recovery, to the final sendoff for the payload, all of which is set to the audio backdrop of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”. All very fitting, considering the endgame is a manned mission to the Red Planet some time in the future. The Roadster will be set on a heliocentric orbit that’ll take it between the Earth and Mars, possibly laying the groundwork for a future Martian colony supply line. While typically these sorts of test missions involve simple weights, the addition of a red sports drop-top manned by a dummy adds a certain artistic quality to it, don’t you think?
SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Tomorrow With Starman At The Helm Of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster
The final countdown is now imminent. Following a successful static test, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is now cleared for the real thing, with liftoff scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The payload will include a deep-red first-gen Tesla Roadster with “Starman” strapped into the driver’s seat.
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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket to Launch for the First Time in December; Could Carry Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Into Space
Back in July, we announced the new that Elon Musk might shoot off SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket for the first time before the turn of the year. Come December 1st and Musk has tweeted that the rocket will, indeed, launch soon, but it won’t be until next month, or as of the date of that post, sometime in January of 2018. That goes beyond the “this year” timeframe but is quite exciting considering the number of times that Falcon Heavy has been delayed in the past. According to Musk, it will have double the thrust of the next largest rocket and the launch is “guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another.” Not long after that, Musk tweeted what seems to be a joke, saying “Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars Orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”
Elon Musk Claims The Tesla Roadster Can Go From 0 to 60 Mph in 1.9 Seconds?
Elon Musk is no stranger to making bombastic claims. This is the same man who once said that autonomous driving technology was at our fingertips. He’s also the same man who said that civilian space travel is possible and traveling at supersonic speeds inside a pressure-sealed tube is the future of public transportation. Don’t look now, but Musk is at it again with a new proclamation that has everyone in the auto industry buzzing. According to him, the new Tesla Roadster, which is scheduled to debut in 2020, is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, becoming the first production car in history to reach that mark in less than two seconds.
The Tesla Roadster Looks like a Blurry Version of the Honda NSX
When the new Aston Martin Vantage came out, I criticized the brand for producing a car that looked like a serious rip off of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Now, as I was looking over the news from the past week, I see that there’s another look-alike out there, and this time, it looks like Tesla decided to copy the Honda NSX and slap a Tesla Roadster badge on it. Now, it isn’t a blatant and condemning rip-off, and maybe not even as bad as the Vantage vs. MX-5 copying scheme, but it’s pretty bad. I would say the Roadster looks like a blurry version of the NSX – almost like cars in 128-bit video games used to look compared to their real-life counterparts. Don’t believe me? Check out the quick comparison below.
Tesla is Hemorrhaging Money at an Alarming Rate
Elon Musk may have surprised the world by debuting the next Tesla Roadster side-by-side with the new Tesla Semi, but that’s not the biggest surprise to come out of the Tesla garage. The title of “biggest surprise” would be reserved for the fact that the company is burning through $8,000 per minute, $480,000 per hour, or $1 billion per quarter. And, at the current rate of expenditure, it is predicted that the company will run out of cash as soon as August of next year.
Is Tesla Working on a Flying Version of the Roadster?
Tesla just unveiled the next-generation Roadster and the preliminary (still theoretical) performance figures are downright shocking. From 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds and a top speed of over 250 mph to a range of at least 600 miles, the second-generation Roadster will move the electric car (and the entire automobile industry for that matter) into a whole new era. Assuming it will live up Elon Musk’s claims, that is! But things got even more interested over the weekend when Musk tweeted that the crazy numbers above are for the base model, with an upgrade to take things up a notch.
"Should clarify that this is the base model performance. There will be a special option package that takes it to the next level," he said. Holy molly. What does that even mean? Will the Roadster get even quicker that 1.9 seconds to 60 mph? Will the range increase to 700 or 800 miles on a single charge? Are we getting some sort of track-spec model? Is Elon Musk on drugs or something?
But wait, there’s more. On Sunday, Must tweeted again, now saying that the special performance upgrade could enable the Roadster to fly "short hops." I kid you not; these are his words: "Not saying the next-gen Roadster special upgrade package *will* definitely enable it to fly short hops, but maybe... Certainly possible. Just a question of safety. Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities."
Is Musk Serious about This?
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Pops’ Rants: Tesla’s Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate
Boy, these past two weeks have been all about high-speed and high-power action. I barely had time to get over Koenigsegg’s new world speed record and Chevrolet launched its monstrous Corvette ZR1 yet. Now, with the weekend upon us, Tesla took the wraps off its new semi truck and the second-generation Roadster. Neither are ready to go into production just yet, but the preliminary data hints at tremendous performance and new benchmarks for the electric car market. The Roadster’s 0-to-60 mph sprint only 1.9 seconds probably caused a few heart strokes over at Ferrari quarters. And I have a feeling that the guys working on the next-generation Nissan GT-R Nismo aren’t feeling better either. But behind Tesla’s new tour de force hides Elon Musk’s fear that his automobile brand may not succeed as planned.
It may seem that Tesla is simply pushing the envelope and presenting the world with revolutionary electric cars, but there’s more to this showcase. Tesla is actually struggling to keep its promises. The new Model 3, which is supposed to become the affordable electric car everyone is dreaming about, is late to the party. Production isn’t going as planned and it seems that the Model X fiasco is happening all over again. On top of that, the Model S isn’t getting the best reviews and Consumer Reports isn’t very optimistic about the Model 3’s reliability. So Tesla needs to find a way to keep all the hype alive, and the upcoming Roadster is the perfect car for this. The strategy is simple, unveiled a cool looking prototype, claim it will hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, set a big preorder price, and wait for the cash to fix ongoing problems.
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Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old
Tesla just unveiled the second-generation Roadster and launched a big shock wave around the world. It’s not the Roadster’s return that took us by surprise, but the incredible specs that the car comes with. Not only set to become the quickest production vehicle ever with a 0-to-60 mph sprint of only 1.9 seconds, it also has a 250-mph top speed. The latter is downright spectacular for gasoline-powered supercar and I honestly didn’t think I’d live to see a production EV hit that much. But before we get overly excited, we must remember that the second-gen Roadster won’t become available until 2020. And given Tesla’s habit of delaying production, it may take a bit longer than that.
Many details are still under wraps, but Tesla made sure that all the new Roadster’s spectacular features hit the news. So we now have quite a few figures to compare with the first-generation Roadster. It takes just a quick glance to notice that Tesla made tremendous progress since 2008, and this is exactly why we need to put the numbers next to each other. While the first Roadster marked Tesla’s debut on the market and the beginning of a spectacular career for the California-based brand (albeit sprinkled with plenty of issues), the second Roadster could take Elon Musk’s firm to new heights. If all goes according to plan of course, because it may happen the other way around too.
This comparison is far from complete given that the latest Roadster is far from being a production model, but the aim is to look at Tesla’s progress rather than provide an comprehensive comparo.
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2020 Tesla Roadster
Back in 2008, a little upstart EV company named Tesla threw a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a Lotus Elise and called it the Roadster. It was the very first model to bear the Tesla badge, and it was the first highway-legal series production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles in a single charge. Now, nearly 10 years and several remarkable models later, Tesla is at it again, revealing a second-generation Roadster in a surprise debut alongside its new all-electric semi truck. While it’s still several years away from hitting public roads, Tesla dropped a variety of specs and numbers for the Roadster 2.0, and long story short, this thing is shaping up to be an absolute monster. If it really can do everything that Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims it can, the second-gen Roadster will set numerous performance records, including quickest to 60 mph, quickest to 100 mph, and quickest in the quarter mile. And that includes internal combustion-based production vehicles, by the way. It’ll also set new standards for EVs in the realms of range per charge and top speed. This is faster than Insane Mode. This is faster than Ludicrous Mode. This, dear readers, is straight up Plaid.
While we knew Tesla had a new Roadster coming down the pipeline, few would have guessed what it might be capable of. We even put together a speculative piece about a potential Tesla supercar a while back, but it turns out the California automaker combined the two ideas into one incredible world-beater. “The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” says Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is gonna feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” Indeed, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is framed as a bona fide halo car, an ultra-quick speed machine that’ll show Tesla’s true performance potential. Read on for the details.
Updated 11/17/2017: Tesla just revealed the new Roadster!
Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Tesla Roadster.
Tesla Makes Surprise Debut Of Next-Gen Roadster
Following the debut of its new semi truck, Tesla dropped a bombshell with the surprise reveal of its second-generation Roadster. The specs on this thing are simply outlandish – 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, which would make it the first production car to break the 2-second barrier in the test. The sprint to 100 mph will take 4.2 seconds, while the quarter mile is dispatched in 8.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at over 250 mph. Torque output comes to a mind-bending 10,000 Nm (that’s 7,376 pound-feet, by the way). This thing is a world-beater in every single sense, capable of setting multiple world records, and Musk knows it, quipping that the new Roadster is basically a “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” and that after driving the Roadster 2.0, internal combustion would feel like “a steam engine with a side of quiche.”
No kidding. Not only do the acceleration specs blow away the current crop of dino juice sports cars, but the new Tesla Roadster also has the stamina to back its insane performance. Packing a 200-kWh battery and three motors (yep, its AWD), range-per-charge is an astonishing 620 miles on the highway, which means it would have the most range of any production electric car ever made. Throw in the 2+2 seating arrangement and some decent storage (frunk for the win?), and you can bet the big makes are feeling the heat right about now. And oh yeah, it also looks fantastic, rocking a targa top for extra headroom if you want it. The cherry on top? This is the base model, which means more range and more speed are on the way.
Availability for the second-gen Tesla Roadster is scheduled for 2020. Pricing will be around $200,000, although the first 1,000 units will be dubbed the Founder series and will cost at least $250,000. Reservations are open now, with a $50,000 deposit required for the standard model and the full $250,000 required to reserve a unit from the Founder series.
2020 Tesla Supercar
It seems almost like almost every other day now brings news about some physics-defying all-electric supercar. Outrageous output figures and broken records are pretty much the norm in this segment, with cars like the NextEV Nio EP9 or Rimac Concept_One setting new standards in electron-powered performance. Tesla is active in this space as well, earning a spot on our list of Top 5 All-Electric Performance Cars with its the venerable Model S P100D. The Model S might be a sedan, but it’s still got insane speed potential, posting a face-melting 2.3-second time in the 0-to-60 mph benchmark. Impressive? Certainly. But what if we went beyond the P100D and probed what was really possible with a few electric motors and an enormous battery pack? What about a true-blue Tesla supercar, a halo model with just two doors and a spec sheet capable of laying waste to all things internal combustion? What would that look like?
It’s a tempting proposition, but right away, there’s a problem. Tesla has adopted a “top-down” approach wherein the more expensive models come out prior to the less expensive models (for example, the Model S preceded the Model 3). So where does a super car fit into that equation? Obviously several years down the line, if at all, but that said, a supercar halo model would do well amongst well-heeled EV enthusiasts, not to mention bring even more attention to the California-based automaker. Sound good? We think so.
Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Supercar.