Picture it: February 2018, Florida. The largest commercial rocket in the world sits upright on launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center awaiting its first journey into space. The Falcon Heavy rocket, eventually intended to deliver large payloads into space, is built by SpaceX, one of many privately-owned empires built from the ground up by visionary and entrepreneur Elon Musk. But this mission is far simpler: launch the Falcon Heavy into Earth’s orbit to test its systems together. Of arguably more importance is the Falcon Heavy’s theoretical ability to propel space-bound humans well beyond the limits of the Earth’s atmosphere to previously unexplored destinations, beginning with Mars.
On this day, the Falcon Heavy payload isn’t part of a future space station, a highly-classified satellite for the government, or humans reaching far to “touch the face of God.” The payload is Elon Musk’s own first-generation electric Roadster, a groundbreaking all-electric car made by Musk’s car company, Tesla.