Flying cars still might not be ready for prime time, but today Elon Musk and SpaceX are putting Musk’s personal first-gen Roadster on the ultimate flight: to space. Musk and his team put the old sports car in the tip of Falcon Heavy, which SpaceX says is currently the most powerful operational rocket on the planet.
Starting at 1:30 p.m. EST today, SpaceX will have a two-and-a-half-hour window for successful completion of the launch, which is taking place at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It’s the same complex from which Apollo 4 and Apollo 11 were sent into the ether. Musk has tweeted that the target launch time has shifted to 2:20 p.m. EST due to winds, which remains within the available launch window.
Upper atmosphere winds currently 20% above max allowable load. Holding for an hour to allow winds to diminish. #FalconHeavy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
According to SpaceX, the rocket is capable of lifting nearly 141,000 pounds and will put out more than five million pounds of thrust via 27 Merlin engines within three cores. Two of the cores have already seen action and are being reused for the mission, and Musk has said he hopes to land all three cores safely back on Earth. Typical test flights use steel or concrete to simulate payloads, but the red Roadster is taking over part of that duty on this mission.
The primary goal of this Falcon Heavy demonstration is to test a rocket design that can carry humans. A successful test would be a major step in Musk’s plan to make trips to the Moon and to Mars with passengers on board. Watch the launch here: