Elon Musk's Starman Has an Unexpected New Friend at NASA


It hasn’t even been a month since SpaceX jettisoned Elon Musk’s Tesla into the void, but in that time, the car and its driver have managed to incite some seriously strong opinions. Now, a NASA astronaut tells Inverse his take on the big launch — and he’s actually a fan.

“It was very exciting to watch that launch and think about the capabilities it might bring us further down the road” astronaut Ricky Arnold, who’s about to rocket up to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 21, tells Inverse. “I’m sure [Elon Musk] was not disappointed to have a lot of people looking at this beautiful Tesla cruising out in space with a big astronaut in it.”

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Though Arnold didn’t elaborate much more on the Falcon Heavy launch itself, he did give props to Musk for getting people excited about space, or at the very least, his space company.

“Elon Musk is a good businessman … it was fun to watch,” he says.

Richard "Ricky" Arnold's official NASA portrait.


This will be Arnold’s second sojourn in space. He previously logged 12 days, 19 hours, and 29 minutes on board the STS-119 Discovery from March 15 to 28 in 2009. In that time, he completed two spacewalks, accumulating 12 hours and 34 minutes in those alone.

On board the ISS, Arnold says he and his colleagues will be conducting over 200 experiments, including one that helps analyze microgravity’s impact on the body.

“I think it’s necessary, especially if we’re serious about being an interplanetary species, which I believe we will be,” he says. Sounds familiar to us.

In his downtime, Arnold says he’ll be listening to music and staring out the window back at Earth. While there’s no chance of him catching a glimpse at Starman veering deeper and deeper into space, he’ll be getting the most enviable view in the solar system. We wish him lots of luck.

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