When Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket earlier this month, there was a very unique payload on board: a mannequin driver called Starman sitting in a Tesla Roadster. The vehicle has a massive elliptical orbit; one that is expected to bring the Roadster close to Mars and then back toward Earth.
Space and technology enthusiasts alike benefited immensely from the live stream footage captured from the Roadster itself. Unfortunately, the batteries have since died, putting an end to any further footage transmissions. Musk and SpaceX have not made any public tracking tools available, meaning that those same enthusiasts lost all contact with the object as soon as the live stream ended. Without the stream or any tracking information, it is impossible for the layperson to tell at any given time where the Roadster and his Starman driver are currently located.
This type of information has uses beyond simply satisfying the curiosity of space and technology fans. It can provide a lot of data about how certain vehicles and their components hold up in space. Information about elements and encounters that can impact the orbit of a small vehicle in space is also incredibly useful for researchers to have.
Thankfully, one SpaceX fan and electrical engineer has created a solution to this problem. He created a website called “Where is Roadster,” which uses JLP Horizons information to track and report to its visitors the path Starman and his vehicle are taking throughout space. The website also includes the vehicle’s speed as well as the direction in which it headed. Developer Ben Pearson also included a section predicting the vehicle’s future path, letting enthusiasts know when it is expected to pass by other planets or the sun.
While the project is not officially affiliated with SpaceX or Tesla, it was seemingly endorsed by Elon Musk himself in a tweet sent out this weekend.