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SpaceX's Tesla's out-of-this-world view

SpaceX celebrates Falcon Heavy launch

As if the launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy wasn't impressive enough, the company posted a live YouTube video stream showing mind-boggling views of the space-suited "Starman" mannequin strapped into the driver's seat of the Tesla Roadster the rocket blasted into space Tuesday, sailing over the blue-and-white planet before heading off to a planned orbit of Mars.

New rockets making their first flights typically carry dummy payloads, or "mass simulators," instead of expensive satellites. But SpaceX founder Elon Musk opted to put his $200,000 cherry red Tesla Roadster on board the Falcon Heavy "just for fun."

"A lot of people (wondered) what's the purpose of sending a car to Mars? There's no point, obviously!" Musk said in an interview Monday. "It's just for fun and to get the public excited."

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Just passing through... SpaceX

The live video stream showed the Starman mannequin, with its arm draped casually over the car door, sailing through space in a slow spin with Earth rotating in and out of view behind the roadster. Another view looking straight ahead over Starman's shoulder showed a "Don't Panic" sign where the car's computer display would be.

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SpaceX

On Instagram, Musk posted a closeup of wording printed onto the circuit board: "Made on Earth by humans."

Printed on the circuit board of a car in deep space

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

SpaceX engineers initially calculated the Tesla would end up in an orbit around the sun with a high point around the distance of Mars' orbit and a low point close to the orbit of Earth. But the second stage apparently fired longer than expected, boosting the Roadster into a solar orbit with a high point in the asteroid belt well beyond Mars.

"We estimate it'll be in that orbit for several hundred million years, maybe in excess of a billion years," Musk said before launch. Tuesday night, he tweeted: "Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt."

Live Views of Starman by SpaceX on YouTube