Elon Musk says the first test launch of SpaceX’s massive new rocket will happen next month.
Its destination? Mars. Its cargo? A Tesla Roadster with David Bowie on the stereo. The rocket, known as the Falcon Heavy, will lift off from Kennedy Space Center, near Cape Canaveral, Florida using the same launchpad as Apollo 11, Musk tweeted late Friday in the U.S.
“Will have double thrust of next largest rocket,” he said. “Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another.”
SpaceX has revolutionized the rocket industry, but it has also suffered spectacular setbacks over the years, including rockets blowing up on the launchpad and in flight. Related: Elon Musk is aiming to land spaceships on Mars in 2022 Musk, the CEO of both SpaceX and electric car company Tesla (TSLA), said the Falcon Heavy would be launched with the aim of putting its payload in orbit around Mars. The rocket’s rather unorthodox cargo will be Musk’s own “midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity,” he said, referring to Bowie’s classic song.
It will, Musk predicted, “be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.” As with pretty much all timetables announced by Musk, the launch date could still change. SpaceX and Tesla have a long track record of missing the CEO’s ambitious deadlines. SpaceX originally hoped to carry out the first Falcon Heavy test launch years ago. And Musk said earlier this year he was targeting November.
Related: SpaceX’s playbook: Make history, then make more history
Musk’s announcement of the planned launch of the giant rocket comes just over two months after he outlined his vision for eventually putting humans on Mars and colonizing the planet. That project will require an even larger rocket, though. It’s called the BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, which inside the company is nicknamed the “Big F–king Rocket.” SpaceX plans to start building the first of those by the middle of next year, Musk said in late September.