Early Monday morning, the SpaceX founder revealed in a series of Instagram photos what appears to be an unexpected “voyager” aboard his midnight cherry Tesla Roadster. We can only assume that this “Starman” — a dummy in a SpaceX spacesuit — will also be flying on board the Falcon Heavy.
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“Starman in Red Roadster,” Musk writes in the caption, keeping in line with his earlier remarks that the Roadster will be traveling toward Mars while playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
This is not the first time Musk has posted pictures of this particular pressure suit. According to a post on his Instagram from September 2017, it’s the official SpaceX space suit, designed to be worn by astronauts on board the company’s Dragon Capsule.
While there won’t be a real human donning the spacesuit on the Falcon Heavy, it seems symbolic of the company’s overarching mission of sending humans to Mars. The Falcon Heavy won’t be landing on Mars this time, as the Starman and his Tesla will revolve around the red planet in an elliptical orbit, like a cowboy riding off into a never-ending sunset. In this case, that sunset is the cold, unfeeling void of space.
If all goes according to plan — and there’s a non-zero chance it won’t — the Falcon Heavy could be used for future missions, like a trip to send private citizens around the moon. Clearly, there’s a lot more riding on this mission than Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster — a successful launch would be SpaceX’s biggest achievement yet.
Tuesday’s launch will take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch window opens Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern and closes at 4 p.m. Eastern. We’ll update this post once SpaceX releases a link to watch a live broadcast of the launch.