SpaceX’s Tesla passes Mars’ orbit

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Capitalism in space: The Tesla roadster that was put into solar orbit by the first Falcon Heavy launch in February has now successfully flown beyond Mars’ orbit.

The significance of this achievement is that this payload was put into solar orbit by a private company, using its own funds. The government had nothing to do with it.

For the entire history of the space age such a thing was considered absurd and impossible. You needed government to fund and build these big space projects. With this launch SpaceX and Elon Musk once again demonstrated how that accepted wisdom was bunk.



  • geoffc

    So a wheel of cheese (First Dragon flight), a Tesla Roadster (first Falcon Heavy flight). Those are pretty silly payloads.

    What will they up the ante with the first BFR mission? (How about the remaing Falcon 1? Launch that as internal payload? That would be pretty recursive).

  • jburn

    it may seem silly but the choices are very memorable — brilliantly leveraged marketing on the part of SpaceX (Musk).

  • Fred K


    (perhaps) First manned flight of BFR: 10 artists around the Moon? Is that epic enough?

  • Andi

    I believe Mars is singular. Shouldn’t that be “Mars’s orbit”?

  • Andi: In the old days, indicating possession by an object that ended in “s” was done by only adding an apostrophe. Thus, Mars would become Mars’. The reason was not singular or plural but the quality of sound. Grammarians didn’t like the sound of the multiple s’s.

    In recent years this has broken down, so that it is often written as Mars’s. I have done it both ways, depending on my mood.

  • geoffc

    @Fred K: You sir, make an excellent point. I had forgotten that! Though somehow I doubt the very first manned mission with be the Moon mission. I am sure they will fly people before that in testing, nonetheless that is a very good point.

    Pretty dang memorable and epic example!

    @Jburn: Dang straight! And he got BOTH his main companies tons of publicity. In the advertising world, wonder how ‘cost effective’ if you split the cost across Tesla and SpaceX, the cost of the F-H mission would have really cost?

    Ok, so SuperBowl ad is $5 mill, and a F-H is in theory $80 mil (If they had landed the core stage for reuse, which is moot, since these were Block 3/4 cores (Side boosters on second flight, core on first) anyway and won’t fly again).

    So maybe not a great deal, but they had to fly it anyway, with something. It was a truly inspired idea. I loved when he said it, people poo-pooed it then, of course he just did it.


  • Andi

    Robert: Interesting! When I was in school, they drilled it into us that singular nouns always got the apostrophe and s, even if they already ended in s, while plural nouns ending in s due to the pluralization only got the apostrophe. Guess things change! Thanks for pointing that out.

  • m

    Andi: for what it is worth I was taught just the other way. To me “…s’s” looks just plain weird.

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