- On Tuesday at 8.45pm GMT, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida
- The Falcon Heavy is twice as powerful as any other rocket that has ever been created before
- A Tesla cherry red roadster was attached to the rocket to be used as a mock payload
- The Tesla and its ‘driver’ starman are now nearing the asteroid belt on a mission for Mars
- Founder Elon Musk celebrated the launch as a success
Express.co.uk brings you the latest news and updates on the Falcon Heavy mission. All times in GMT.
Monday, February 12
This live blog has now ended. However, if you still wish to track the Tesla Roadster, Express.co.uk will continue to bring you the latest data from whereisroadster.com live.
Where is the Starman right now? Where is the Tesla Roadster?
Or, to find out more about last week’s launch, you can read all the facts about SpaceX and Falcon Heavy here.
Friday, February 9
2.48pm: The unmanned Falcon Heavy cost a staggering $90million, £65million, to be blasted into orbit.
That is 45 per cent more expensive than the Falcon 9 rocket in 2012.
Despite the cost, SpaceX have said it is actually a competitive price.
They put this down to its reusable rocket parts – the company is the only rocket builder in the world that safely returns first-stage rocket boosters back to Earth.
It is a bargain compared to the Delta IV Heavy, built by legacy aerospace firm United Launch Alliance, which can reportedly cost as much as $400 million per launch.
11.41am: The US Air Force launched a strike on one of the Falcon 9 boosters
The Air Force reportedly conducted an air strike to destroy one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 boosters, which came down off the Florida Coast on January 31 after a test.
The space launch firm had previously said it would try to tow it back to shore, but it may have become an immediate danger to maritime traffic or sites along the coast, prompting the service to take action.
10am: The Tesla roadster is 147651009 miles from Mars
The current location at 10.30am on Friday, February 9 is 449808 miles (723896 km) from Earth, moving away from Earth at a speed of 8081 miles/hour (13005 km/hour, 3.61 km/s).
The car is 147651009 miles (237621338 km) from Mars, moving toward the planet at a speed of 44745 miles/hour (72010 km/hour, 20 km/s).
The closest approach to Mars in the next orbit will occur on Jun 10, 2018, and will be approximately 0.739 AU away.
The furthermost point from Earth will occur on Feb 23, 2019, and will be 2.445 AU away.
The closest approach to Earth will occur on Aug 15, 2019, and will be 1.99 AU away.
9am: NASA’s former deputy administrator says NASA turned down the chance to have their own payload on the Falcon heavy launch
Lori Garver says that SpaceX offered NASA the opportunity to get a free ride on the launch – but NASA refused the opportunity. The Air Force also turned down the offer.
She wrote: “I was told by a SpaceX VP at the launch that they offered free launches to NASA, Air Force etc. but got no takers.
“A student developed experiment or early tech demo could have led to even more new knowledge from the mission. The Tesla gimmick was the backup.”
SpaceX launch: The Tesla roadster was used as a mock payload
Thursday, February 7
4.00pm: This week’s launch generated a worldwide buzz, so here is a list of scheduled SpaceX flights for the next few months, according to Space.com’s calendar.
All dates are accurate as of February 8, but could change closer to the time.
February 17: Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Paz satellite for Hidesat of Madrid in Space.
February 22: Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Hispasat 30W-6 communications satellite.
March 13: Falcon 9 launching the Dragon CRS-14 for a delivery mission to the International Space Station.
March 18: Falcon 9 will fire 10 Iridium Next satellites into orbit.
March 20: Falcon 9 set to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite on behalf of NASA.
April 30: The new Falcon Heavy will launch the US Air Force’s Space Test Program-2 mission, with a payload of military and research satellites.
1.59pm: The Tesla Falcon Heavy launch has been described as a major breakthrough as far as launch technology is concerned
G Madhavan Nair, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told Firstpost. “Using existing technology for space shuttle launches, they have put together a configuration which enabled the largest payload ever to be taken into orbit.
“And that’s a tremendous achievement.”
12.45pm: The Tesla Roadster is now almost 300,000 miles from earth.
According to new website ‘whereisroadster.com’, the very special payload is thousands of miles away from earth.
The current location is 275717 miles (443724 km) from Earth, moving at a speed of 2312 miles/hour (3721 km/hour).
12.26om: The Tesla won’t make it to the asteroid belt as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk previously claimed.
After some astronomers noticed some discrepancies with the SpaceX figures, the agency then sent a revised orbit to NASA.
This revealed the car will indeed travel further than the orbit of Mars, but ultimately will not reach the asteroid belt.
The belt begins about 329 million miles from the Sun, and the Tesla will reach a distance about 160 million miles away from the Solar System’s star.
SpaceX launch: The tesla won’t reahc the asteroid belt
11.15am: The US Air Force Space Command announced it had added the Tesla Roadster to the US satellite catalogue.
The SpaceX Tesla won’t come close to Mars for many months, according to Clifford V Johnson, a professor in physics and astronomy at USC.
He said: “Either way, they’ve shown they can get something to Mars or the vicinity of Mars, and that’s great.
“They’ve demonstrated that they can get something that big off the surface of the Earth into Earth orbit, recover most of the vehicle to make the whole thing really cheap.
“And then further extend the payload’s path beyond Earth’s orbit toward Mars.”
10.50am: Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster is expected to reach a distance of about 160 million miles away from the Sun.
It is estimated the car “will be in that orbit for several million years, maybe in excess of a billion years, and at times it will come extremely close to Mars and there is a tiny, tiny chance it will hit Mars”.
Mr Musk told a press conference: “The battery’s going to last about 12 hours from launch, roughly.
“After that it’s just going to be out there in deep space for maybe millions, maybe billions of years, who knows?
“Maybe discovered by some alien race that’ll be like, ‘What were they doing? Did they worship this car?’ Why did they have a little car in the car?’”
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10.15am: Starman and Tesla roadster on route to asteroid belt
Earth has already had its last glimpse of the Tesla roadster and Starman as they head towards the red planet Mars after completing one final engine burn towards a “trans-Mars injection”.
Sharing an image of the rocket’s path yesterday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the roadster has “kept going to the Asteroid belt”.
He tweeted: “Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt.”
09.12am: Droves of sceptics and disbelievers have accused SpaceX of faking the launch
Flat Earthers, who are individuals who cling on to the disproven theory that the Earth is a flat disk and not an oblate sphere, claimed the stream was CGI.
The official Flat Earth Society Twitter page said today: “People who believe that the Earth is a globe because ‘they saw a car in space on the Internet’ must be the new incarnation of ‘It’s true, I saw it on TV!’
“It’s a poor argument. Why would we believe any privately-held company to report the truth?”
9.00am: Elon Musk revealed today the final rocket burst worked better than intended
The speeding Tesla in now on an interstellar path which will take it out towards the massive Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.
A star chart tweeted out by Mr Musk reveals the Roadster will come close to crossing paths with Ceres, a dwarf planet within the belt and orbit of Neptune.
But even if the Roadster avoids any major collisions on its journey, the billion year orbit will most likely be cut short by intense space radiation.