It will also permit, for the first time, realistic projects to both colonize other celestial bodies and the development of true private industry in space. It requires powerful rockets that have, until recently, been usable only once.
During the company's earnings call this week, Musk told analysts he expects to sell 100,000 units or more annually by 2022.
A Tesla-SpaceX merger has been discussed on Wall Street.
One small nugget buried in the call also confirms what many have long suspected: that the truck will most likely favor lithium ion batteries versus supercapacitors.
Musk is a masterful marketer, and the red ink may not stem investors' excitement.
SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk's cherry red Roadster from Tesla, his electric auto company, was the payload on the Falcon Heavy demonstration mission from Launch Complex 39A that lifted of from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 3:45 p.m. EST.
The vehicle was "driven" by a space-suited dummy, dubbed Starman, with the soundtrack of David Bowie's Life on Mars? playing during the launch. Tesla's shares are also in the stratosphere, up 8 percent from the start of this year.
"He appears to be more eager to sell hats and flamethrowers rather than meeting previously stated production targets for Tesla vehicles", Thibault wrote in a note to investors.
What do you think about Musk's computer metaphor for the composition of engines on SpaceX rockets?
As the space council mulls how best to involve commercial companies in its plans, its exploits so far have begun to attract attention on the Florida space coast, reviving an area that was hit hard when the space shuttle retired in 2011.
Now, it looks like Starman isn't actually heading toward the asteroid belt at all.
Reports from independent space news website AmericaSpace and a tweet by a managing editor of NasaSpaceFlight.com initially claimed that the Air Force had conducted a "scuttling operation" (an intentional sinking) on a first-stage booster that successfully helped launch a satellite into orbit. Delivering a Tesla into space was not necessary. But it fell woefully short on the Model 3, which went into production in July. "It's just a matter of time". Late previous year, UPS placed an order for 125 Tesla Semis, while PepsiCo reserved 100 and Anheuser Busch reserved 40. Musk even managed to scrape, briefly, into profit on those earlier cars, before plunging back into the red for the new model. "I'm still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seemed surreal to me", Musk said in a statement. All that costs money, which Tesla is burning through at a fast clip.
"For selling the rocket to customers, C3 is what you care about, [and] the actual orbit around the sun is not relevant", McDowell said, "so they weren't careful about calculating it".
© 2018 Los Angeles Times under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media.
New cars come equipped with safety systems.