After 557 days since they were launched into space, Starman and the Tesla Roadster have completed their first orbit around the Sun.
Starman hitched a ride out of our atmosphere on the first Falcon Heavy launch in February 2018. Since then it has travelled over 762 million miles, according to data from Where is Roadster.
The mannequin passenger of the Tesla Roadster is currently 91,729,756 miles, light minutes from the Sun, moving away from the star at a speed of 1,012 mph.
The Cherry Red Tesla Roadster was the payload for the first Falcon Heavy test launch. It was installed into the fairings on top of the second stage of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
The launch was a significant moment in space travel not just because it sent Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s own car into space. Falcon Heavy rockets have the highest payload capacity of any currently operational launch vehicle, meaning that it will be able to carry more cargo than any other rocket. It’s extremely powerful with 27 Merlin engines that generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.
When the Roadster was launched into space, David Bowie’s 1969 classic Space Oddity was playing out. The launch makes the Tesla the first consumer car ever sent into space. By November 2018, had already passed the orbit of Mars and was heading out toward the asteroid belt.
Where is Roadster? is currently tracking Starman’s journey across space. Their data shows that the Tesla Roadster would have travelled far enough to drive all of the roads in the world nearly 34 times over. If the battery was still working in the vehicle, Starman would have listened to Space Oddity 151,736 times since he launched in one ear, and to Life On Mars? 204,458 times in his other ear.
Unfortunately for those hoping to see the Starman drifting across the sky at night, the vehicle won’t get close to Earth again until November 2020. And when we say close, the car is projected to still be millions of miles away from our planet. Our planet is currently on the opposite side of the sun to the electric car.
The closest anybody could get to seeing the car out in space is if astronauts participate in a deep space flight. With the US hoping to send astronauts to the Red Planet in 2030, there’s a chance that Starman may have already crashed into Mars before humans ever get there.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.