On February 6, 2018, the head of Tesla, Ilon Musk, launched the Falcon Heavy rocket from the US space center. In the capsule, it was decided to place a personal auto mask, designed and released by his own company. Why did a famous entrepreneur and engineer perform such a strange and seemingly useless act? Below we will try to find out.
Falcon Heavy became the first super-heavy rocket of SpaceX, which was designed for private investment and then went into space. The initiator of the launch, Ilon Musk, ordered that a rocket with a car housed inside it fly around the Sun, alternately approaching either Mars or Earth.
During the flight in the car plays the famous song of David Bowie “Space Oddity”. Behind the wheel of a car sits a mannequin with a helmet on his head. Ilon Musk called him Starman. On the dashboard you can see the inscription “Don't Panic”, taken from the novel “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”. By the way, the book itself also went on a space trip with a rocket and an electric vehicle.
What does Ilon Musk say and what do the experts say
In one of his many interviews, Musk announced to journalists that he was launching his car into space “for the sake of laughter”. According to him, many people do not see any point in sending an electric vehicle to another planet. The head of Tesla itself is in solidarity with them. In addition, Musk said that usually when launching a rocket, people put on board something boring, like a concrete block or a piece of steel. When choosing a payload, the man was guided by the thought “that it was not boring”.
Despite the open statements by Mask about the senselessness of this act, many see it as financial intent. First, the launch of Falcon Heavy was broadcast live, which was watched by a huge number of people. Secondly, Mask's decision to send a car into space caused a lot of noise in social networks, which increased his popularity. A number of memes appeared on the Internet dedicated to Ilon and his extraordinary solution. Third, after the launch of the rocket, many media outlets wrote about Tesla for free. Experts called the launch of an electric vehicle into space a promotion made for the sake of investors. In 2017, Tesla's losses amounted to a huge amount of $ 620 million. According to experts, in connection with this Mask had to somehow get out and raise the popularity of his brand with the help of the show. The promotion really caused a great public response.
Perhaps the electric car still got into space not for the sake of laughter and not even for the sake of PR. For example, the British Internet publication “The Independent” confidently declares: with its unconventional act, Ilon Mask wanted to show the world that building missiles is not as expensive as is commonly believed, and space travel has long ceased to be someone’s transcendental dream. Now they are real and accessible!
Progressive companies can actually create relatively inexpensive rockets capable of carrying very heavy loads. It is possible that in the future, companies like Tesla will start to rent missiles for flights into space. The starting point for this was the act of Ilona Mask. With his example, a businessman clearly demonstrated that he is able to put anything into orbit.
Opinions of outside observers
The launch of the electric vehicle into space caused turbulent emotions not only among fans, colleagues and competitors of Mask, but also among the President of the United States. A few hours after the launch of the rocket, Donald Trump posted congratulations on his Twitter for Tesla's CEO. According to the head of the US government, the act of Ilon was a great achievement, which clearly demonstrates American skill.
The British TV presenter, model, poker-female of the PokerStars professional team, and astrophysicist, Liv Boeri, agree with the head of the United States. She tweeted the following on her Twitter page: “Now there is a CAR in space. He is moving towards Mars. And then back. This car. Thank you for this achievement @SpaceX and @elonmusk. We live in amazing time. ” Russian media personalities responded to the unusual deed of Ilona Musk in a similar vein. The representative of Roscosmos, Igor Burenkov, for example, believes that any such project expands the boundaries of space exploration. At the same time during the interview, the man added that the head of Tesla, of course, acts not only for pure motives, but also for the sake of increasing its popularity.
Like many colleagues, the editor-in-chief of Behind the Wheel, Maxim Kadakov, considers Mask’s decision to launch a car into orbit, rather as a creative advertising campaign, and not as a real achievement. He called the American share an unusual, but at the same time quite logical step for a company that is gradually losing profits.