Elon Musk's SpaceX to launch Falcon Heavy rocket to Mars with old Tesla on board

 
Alys Key
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Falcon Heavy is due to launch today (Source: Getty)

The maiden voyage of Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy is due this afternoon, with his own Tesla Roadster on board.

SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002,will launch the rocket today with the intention of getting it into Mars's orbit. If all goes to plan, the Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in operation.

Demonstrating the heavy-lifting capacity of the vehicle, Musk has volunteered his own car to be the payload on the rocket. It will carry a spacesuited mannequin (nicknamed "Starman") while David Bowie's Space Oddity will play on repeat from the car's radio during the flight.

"If it doesn’t explode into tiny pieces, it will carry Starman in Roadster over 400 million km from Earth at 11 km/sec on a billion year journey through deep space," wrote Musk on Instagram, as he shared a video of what the successful launch could look like, set to a soundtrack of David Bowie's Life on Mars.

He added that this could lead to "crewed missions to the moon and Mars".

The launch was originally scheduled to take place at 1.30pm Eastern Time but this has now been pushed back to 2.20pm, or 7.20pm UK time. The launch will be broadcast live on SpaceX's website.

It marks the culmination of more than six years of work on the rocket, and could take the company one step closer to the goal of offering space tourism.

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