Elon Musk's SpaceX Tesla may have a driver named 'Starman'

SpaceX CEO may launch a tribute to David Bowie into space at the wheel of his Tesla Roadster, powered by the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Elon Musk is a master of the vague social-media teaser. He can get people excited about everything from hats to flamethrowers to really big rockets. His latest is an Instagram photo showing the red Tesla Roadster he's sending into space with a spacesuit-wearing driver named "Starman" at the wheel. 

Starman in Red Roadster

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

Musk's Tesla is scheduled to blast off on Tuesday for the first demonstration mission for SpaceX's powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. Musk already told us the sports car would be playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" for the launch, so it makes sense the dummy would be named "Starman" after another Bowie song. 

Here's a sample of the lyrics: "There's a starman waiting in the sky/He'd like to come and meet us/But he thinks he'd blow our minds."

Starman is wearing a SpaceX spacesuit that Musk says balances aesthetics and function. The figure looks to have a good grip on the steering wheel, which it will need if it catches air on the most powerful rocket since the Apollo era. 

While we know Musk's own Tesla is on board for the test flight, it's uncertain if Starman will really be going along for the ride or if it was just a cool way to show off SpaceX's nifty spacesuit for a photo op. Musk previously shared preparatory photos of the Roadster with no sign of a mannequin on board.

If all goes well, Musk's car, and possibly Starman as well, could spend a lifetime out in orbit, gallivanting around our solar system, making Bowie's lyrics come true.