Time flies when you’re cruising through space in a Tesla Roadster, huh? It’s hard to believe that it’s already been nearly nine months since SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket, sending a test payload into Sun-centric orbit, but here we are. Now, the only passenger that took part in the adventure officially made his way past Mars, marking yet another milestone for the private spaceflight leader.
Over the weekend, SpaceX revealed that Starman has made it past Mars’ orbit, which was one of the loftier goals for the test launch. The Tesla Roadster and its “driver” are still speeding through space, though it won’t go much farther before looping back around towards the Sun again and repeating its trip for, well, we don’t actually know how long.
The launch of the Falcon Heavy was a truly monumental event, especially considering the company and founder Elon Musk weren’t even sure if the vehicle was going to make it all the way into space. Musk in particular was careful to temper expectations, noting that as long as it didn’t blow up on the launch pad it would be considered a success.
Of course, things clearly went far better than Musk had publicly feared, and the launch seemed to go off without a hitch. The Tesla and its Starman passenger were revealed on the live video feed as the exterior shell of the payload bay opened up. It was all very cool to watch, and it’s been a big feather in SpaceX’s cap ever since.
SpaceX has since moved on from the Falcon Heavy, at least publicity wise. These days all eyes are on the company’s BFR, which stands for “Big Falcon Rocket” (or maybe “Big F*cking Rocket,” if you prefer Musk’s tale of how he came up with the name). The BFR is SpaceX’s darling that it says will help push mankind to new scientific milestones, such as trips to Mars.