Now that space exploration is becoming more private, things will change, and we already know what some of these changes are. You see, two astronauts – Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley – will leave Earth aboard a SpaceX kite on a trip to the International Space Station, but first they will be driven in a Tesla. after a tweet by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Numbers, right? I mean billionaireand owns both companies, so why miss the opportunity for PR? In particular Mssrs. Behnken and Hurley will couple a ride on a white Tesla Model X. The vehicle itself should be standard in every way, but at least two things make it unique: its NASA logos.
In particular, both of NASA’s most historic and best-known logos appear on the vehicle at the same time – something that NASA has historically prohibited. The older of the two should be known to anyone who has seen the excellent film Apollo 13. It is called “meatballs” by space historians and served from 1959 to 1975, then again from 1992 to the present day. The second is the red and white logo, known as “the worm”, which was used from 1975 to 1992. It should be known to fans of the 1986 film SpaceCamp.
In the past, astronauts were also brought (pun) in order to Intended) in modified motorhomes known as Astro Vans (not to be confused with the Chevy minivans of the “bike era” of the same name). The first was a cored Clark Cortez motorhome and was used during the Apollo missions from 1968 and continued until 1982 when it was replaced by a modified Airstream Excella that was large enough to accommodate the larger space shuttle crews.
Officers Behnken and Hurley will launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon on May 27.
Neither Tesla nor NASA immediately responded to requests for comments.