Tucked into the nose of the mammoth SpaceX unmanned rocket that blasted off Tuesday was tech pioneer Elon Musk’s own cherry red convertible Tesla roadster, a vehicle that was in fact manned — by a spacesuited dummy nicknamed Starman.
Once a protective coating called the fairing peeled away from the nose holding the payload, video beamed down live and broadcast via Twitter showed the slick, shiny automobile seeming to float in the dark of space until our big gray-blue planet drifted into view behind it, filling the background.
Whisps of white hinted at weather systems churning busily high above Earth’s surface.
View from SpaceX Launch Control. Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth. pic.twitter.com/QljN2VnL1O
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
Starman had its right hand on the steering wheel and left arm stretched casually along the open left side of the car.
At another point in the video, a skinny, elongated reflection of the Earth — an image shaped roughly like a space rocket, of all things — crept forward along the left side of the car.