Blast-off! Tesla Roadster successfully goes in to orbit

Published: 07 February 2018

 Original Tesla Roadster blasts into space
 Falcon Heavy rocket sends EV into orbit
 Convertible makes up ballast on spacecraft

Never knowingly under-hyped, Tesla chief Elon Musk has come up with a new publicity stunt: he's sent an original Noughties Tesla Roadster into space. It's as part of his SpaceX mission to Mars, and the early electric sports car formed part of the ballast on board the rocket at take-off.

The Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched on 6 February 2018 and the Tesla was released solo into orbit once the rockets had successfully deployed. It is now circling the Earth, 'driven' by a mannequin who's facing a message on the digital read-out saying 'Don't panic.'

Those fun guys at Tesla have had a laugh by leaving a few crypic messages around the car - just in case it's ever found by aliens - such as this printed circuit board, shared by Elon Musk on his Instagram feed.

Musk said he thought it fitting that one of his pioneering EVs was sent into orbit.

'Test flights usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks,' he said. 'That seemed extremely boring... so we decided to send something unusual.

Click here to read the full story on the new 2020 Tesla Roadster

Falcon Heavy rocket at the Florida launchpad

'I love the thought of a car drifting through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future.'

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David Bowie on the Tesla's stereo in space

The Tesla Roadster was set up to play David Bowie's Space Oddity on the stereo, according to Musk. The unmanned Falcon Heavy rocket launched from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida (above). It used the same launchpad as the Saturn V Apollo 11 moon rocket.

It's all part of SpaceX's dream to fly people and cargo to the moon and - eventually - Mars. 

We drive the original Tesla Roadster; check out our 2008 review

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet