No astrovans for SpaceX, crews riding to rockets in Teslas

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (AP) — Astronauts launched by SpaceX in coming months will ride to their rockets in high fashion. Instead of using a retro-style astrovan, SpaceX crews will travel to the launch pad in Tesla sports cars.

Elon Musk, who also runs both SpaceX and the electric car company, used Teslas to get around Kennedy Space Center for last Sunday’s launch escape test. No one was aboard for the test flight, just two mannequins. But during a launch dress rehearsal last Friday, the two NASA astronauts assigned to the first SpaceX crew got a lift to the pad in a Tesla Model X.

The sleek white and black spacesuits worn by astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken for last Friday’s practice matched the white Tesla roadster with wing-like doors waiting for them outside Kennedy’s crew quarters. A SpaceX employee drove them to the pad. A second white Model X carried SpaceX support staff.

A SpaceX spokesman confirmed last Sunday that this will be the transport for crew missions moving forward. The first SpaceX crew launch, with Hurley and Behnken, could occur as soon as April.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken pose in front of a Tesla Model X at a SpaceX launch dress rehearsal at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. PHOTO: AP