SpaceX's Roadster-Flying Starman Completes First Orbit of the Sun

Starman's orbit will soon keep him very far from the Earth, until 2047.
Chris Young

Do you remember that time SpaceX sent a Tesla Roadster up into space with a human mannequin passenger while blasting David Bowie tunes from the cars sound system? Of course you do.

The cherry red Tesla Roadster was sent up as the payload for Falcon Heavy's test launch in February 2018. Since then, WhereIsRoadster has allowed anyone to keep track of the spacefaring vehicle.

The latest update? Starman has completed his first orbit of the Sun.


Far from home

It is now just over a year and a half since Starman was launched into space. At the time of writing the vehicle is 69,419,883 miles (111,720,472 km) from Mars and counting.

WhereIsRoadster has a rapidly changing live counter, due to the fact that the Roadster is traveling at roughly 25,912 mph (41,700 km/h).

SpaceX's Roadster-Flying Starman Completes First Orbit of the Sun
Starman: when he was a little closer to home. Source: SpaceX/Flickr 

Within nine months of launch, Starman had already passed Mars.

Now, according to WhereIsRoadster, the Roadster has completed its first orbit around the Sun, 557 days after the test launch of Falcon Heavy.

Starman has traveled 763.3 million miles (at the time of writing) from Earth, meaning it has exceeded the Tesla's 36,000-mile warranty about 21,204 times.

SpaceX streamed a live video of Starman while the space-traveling Roadster was still close to Earth.

There is plenty of interesting information that can be tracked on the WhereIsRoadster website. For example, Starman has traveled far enough to have driven all of the world's roads more than 33 times. 

Most important of all, perhaps: if the car's battery was still working, Starman would have listened to David Bowie's Space Oddity 151,727 times since he launched in one ear, and to Is there Life On Mars? 204,446 times in his other ear.

Where to next?

As Gizmodo reports, Starman won't get close (relatively speaking) to Earth until November 5th, 2020, when it'll be about 32.2 million miles away - a bit far to give us a wave.

The flying Roadster will get closer to Mars before that at roughly 4.6 million miles away on October 7th of next year. After that, Starman is due a long stretch away from home - estimates suggest he might not get close to Earth again until 2047.

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