Tesla has denied the claims, saying it disclosed production bottlenecks once identified, and pointing to Musk's public statements that the company was undergoing a period of "production hell" in 2017. Over the weekend, founder Elon Musk shared a short clip of the long tunnel on Twitter.
The new milestone was announced via a tweet on Saturday, Nov. 3, nine months after it had been launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The tweet included Starman's orbit diagram.
It's a nice tie-in with the words "DON'T PANIC!" that appear on the Roadster's dashboard display, another reference to Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide - the words appear on the cover in the story.
In an interview published by Re/code over the weekend, Musk acknowledged that the settlement places restrictions on what he is able to say in social media posts. Its name came from the 1972 song by David Bowie.
"Of course, anything boring is bad, especially companies, so we chose to send something unusual, something that made us feel", he added. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to fly for the second time in January.
According to an orbit-modelling study, Starman will swing back past Earth in 2091, coming within a few hundred thousand kilometers of our planet. There's a 6% chance of it colliding with Earth and a 2.5% chance of it smashing into Venus.
Unconventional factory methods and failed attempts at automation forced the Silicon Valley automaker to endure months of costly delays and executive departures at its vehicle factory in Fremont, Calif., during a time that Musk has called "production hell".