Tag: Elon Musk

Elon Musk Reveals the Incredible Sci-Fi Design for SpaceX’s Hopper Starship

SpaceX’s Mars-bound rocket is taking shape. Last week, CEO Elon Musk shared an illustration of how the test version of the company’s Starship will look when complete, demonstrating a creative design that bears more than a passing resemblance to The Adventures of Tintin.

The rocket, aimed at completing short tests later this year, is a miniaturized version of one that is expected to send the first humans to Mars.

The image depicts the rocket currently under construction at the firm’s Boca Chica site in Texas. The “hopper” rocket will complete short “hop tests” of a few hundred kilometers to demonstrate the rocket’s effectiveness.

While it doesn’t reach the heights of the full Starship, announced with a size of 348 feet it does reach the same diameter of the final version at 30 feet.

While the stainless steel design is likely to reflect the final version, which Musk has described as looking like “liquid silver,” the “hopper” version also lacks features like windows expected to make the final design.

The steel looks incredible, and represents a stark departure from the carbon fiber composite used in the Falcon 9’s construction.

It’s similar to the approach used by NASA with the Atlas rockets in the 1950s, but those designs suffered as it buckled on the launchpad when depressurized.




SpaceX’s version should avoid the same pitfalls, with a metal that Musk says will “vary considerably according to loads.

SpaceX needs the rocket to succeed if it wishes to carry out its more ambitious missions.

The rocket now known as the “Starship” was unveiled at the International Aeronautical Congress in September 2017 under the name “BFR,” with a reusable design that could enable humans to travel to Mars and refuel its liquid oxygen and methane tanks by harvesting resources from the atmosphere.

SpaceX is aiming to send two unmanned Starships to Mars by 2022, followed by two unmanned and two manned in 2024.

The firm is also planning to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a trip around the moon with the Starship sometime in 2023, accompanied by a team of artists as part of a project.

While photos of the test site show the “hopper” still in an unfinished state, Musk stated on Sunday that the team is aiming to fly the rocket in just four weeks’ time, with the possibility of pushing the deadline back to eight weeks.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Tesla Can Change So Much With Over-The-Air Updates

When Consumer Reports recently found that the braking distance on the Tesla Model 3 was worse than that of a Ford F-150, CEO Elon Musk took the criticism and found a solution.

Days later, Tesla shipped an over-the-air update that, according to CR’s testing, improved the braking distance by 19 feet.

It’s a wild idea: your car automatically downloads some code, and it’s instantly safer. It also wasn’t possible even a few years ago, and some have held it up as an ideal example of how futuristic technologies can make our lives better. Analysts said it was “unheard of.”

Jake Fisher, CR’s director of auto testing (and the person who originally flagged the issue), said he’d “never seen a car that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update.”

Others, like Navigant Research’s Sam Abuelsamid, looked at the recent Model 3 braking distance issue as a sign of a larger problem with Tesla’s quality control.

He wrote this week that the fact there was that much room for improvement on the braking capabilities of the car shows there’s something “fundamentally broken in what they were doing” with the Model 3.




Shouldn’t Tesla, which by now has made and sold over 300,000 cars around the globe, have caught this problem before CR did?

We don’t yet know why the Model 3’s braking was underperforming, and we may never know. That matters less than what the update actually signaled.

Tesla has shipped OTA updates to its cars for years now that have changed everything from its Autopilot driver assistance system to the layout and look of its touchscreen interfaces.

At one point last year, it even used an update to extend the range of some cars to help customers evacuate the path of Hurricane Irma.

This week was different, though, because it showed just how far the company can go with those updates. With a swift change in the software, the company showed it can reach as deep as the systems that control the brakes.

It creates the feeling that you could get out of your car one night, and by the time you get back in the next morning, the car could do some things — maybe everything — in a totally different way.

Tesla is ahead of other carmakers when it comes OTA updates — just look at the recent mini FCA fiasco.

But being on the frontline of a new technology means that you have to deal with problems that no one else has encountered, and find answers to questions that people are asking for the first time.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The SpaceX Crew Dragon – Elon’s First Step to Mars

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Elon Musk’s plan to get humans to Mars can only be achieved if they first get people to space. For this, they have built the Crew Dragon capsule, which will finally start testing at the end of this year, with the first astronauts scheduled for Spring 2019.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is a manned version of their Dragon cargo capsule. Fully autonomous with room for 7 passengers, this is the most advanced space craft ever built. Along with the new Boeing Starliner, this will give NASA 2 different options to send up astronauts for the first time in their history.

Launching astronauts into space from American soil would be the first time that’s happened since 2011, when the famed Space Shuttle flew its last mission. The first two astronauts to fly on Crew Dragon are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, two seasoned astronauts with years of experience between them.

My Tesla Model 3 Delivery!

After 2 1/2 years of waiting, my Tesla Model 3 is finally here!
Today’s video is a little bit different, more of a vlog-style where I document the delivery and my first impressions of the Tesla Model 3.

Elon Musk Says We’re Probably Characters In Some Advanced Civilization’s Video Game

I don’t want to freak you out here, but there’s a chance you’re not the only ‘you’ in existence.

I’m not talking about the possibility that you might actually have two different brains, which means it’s virtually impossible to tell which one is ‘you’.

I’m talking about the fact that there could well be countless parallel universes, and each one contains a slightly different version of you.

Within that parallel universe construct, our own reality might not be as ‘real’ as you think. Are some of the most massive objects in our Universe nothing but holograms?

Is our Universe itself a hologram? Is this whole thing one giant simulation and we’re just characters in the most advanced video game ever? I swear I’m not high.




Everything I just mentioned is part of actual thought experiments that have been devised and debated over by the world’s best thinkers for years now, because one way or another, we have to make sense of this very strange and incredibly unlikely reality we’ve found ourselves in.

At Recode’s annual Code Conference this week in California, billionaire tech genius Elon Musk was asked about the possibility of us humans being unwitting participants in a giant simulation built by some alien civilization that’s far more advanced than our own.

His argument is pretty simple, if we look at our own history of video games. Forty years ago, video games meant stuff like Pong and Space Invaders.

Now we have photorealistic, three-dimensional stuff that looks like this, and we could have millions, potentially even billions, of people all playing the same game online at the same time.

Sure, there’s a certain ‘uncanny valley‘ quality to our video game counterparts right now, but think of what things are going to look like in another 40, or even 20 years’ time, with virtual and augmented reality already trying to inch its way into our living rooms.

Musk explains:

“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.

So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.”

It might not be the most comforting thing in the world to think about – our reality isn’t at all what we think it is – but Musk says all of this being one big video game is about the best option we could hope for, given the alternatives.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Is Ready To Launch (Ft. The Everyday Astronaut)

Elon Musk’s dream of landing on Mars is a little closer to reality as SpaceX prepares to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket this month, and it couldn’t be more exciting.

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TRANSCRIPT:

The Falcon Heavy was first announced in 2011 at a news conference in Washington DC, but the idea had been floating around since 2004. And the idea was pretty simple.

SpaceX had the Falcon 9 rocket, which at the time had done a couple of test runs into Low Earth Orbit so they were getting a feel for what it was capable of.

And what they saw was it was a great workhorse to take cargo to the ISS, and satellites to low Earth orbit and smaller payloads to geosynchronous orbit… but there were some payloads that needed more power.

So… Why not strap a few Falcon 9’s together? Boom. Done.

And that’s basically what the Falcon Heavy is, it’s three Falcon 9 cores connected together with a second stage and payload on the top of the middle core, giving it 27 engines total with 5 million pounds of thrust.

Falcon 9 rockets care called Falcon 9 because they have 9 Merlin engines on them.

Liftoff of this thing is going to be awesome. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a rocket this powerful take off but with SpaceX, the launch is just the precursor to watching them land.

So once it gets into space, the two side cores will disengage, turn around, and head back to the pad.

Then, we are going to watch two Falcon 9s land almost simultaneously. It’ll be like some kind of rocket version of synchronized diving.

The third, middle core will continue to push the dummy cargo into orbit before it disengages, turns and lands on a barge further out to sea.

So once all the first stage cores land, the fairing opens and reveals the dummy cargo, which in the case of this first test flight will be… you guessed it… Elon Musk’s personal original Tesla Roadster.

Never to be outdone in the PR department, Elon Musk announced in December that he was going to use this event to launch his personal Tesla Roadster into Mars orbit. Something he seemed to insinuate was just a joke, but… (show picture)

It’s not a joke. He’s actually launching a car into space.

Just to make it more fun, he says that the stereo on the car will be playing Space Oddity by David Bowie, though I don’t think you’d be able to hear it in the vacuum of space, but still.

And just to be clear, the car isn’t going to Mars, it’s going out to the distance of Mars, so it will circle the sun relatively along Mars’ orbit. For the next billion or so years, according to Elon.

Anyway, when the heavy goes into operation, it will be the most powerful rocket currently in use today, by a factor of 2.

And it will be 4th most powerful rocket of all time behind the Saturn V, the Space Shuttle, and the Soviet N-1, which had a tendency to explode. Every time. It never made it.

Because it had 30 engines. Mo engines mo problems.

This title will be taken back by NASA once the Space Launch System gets up and running, it’ll actually be more powerful than the Saturn V, but we’re still a year or so out on that.

The Heavy already has a couple of satellite launches scheduled, the Arabsat 6A communications satellite and Space Test Program 2 mission for the US Air Force…

There’s also a plan to carry a Dragon Crew spacecraft with two passengers on a circumlunar mission in late 2018. But that’s very speculative.

So they’re making a Big Falcon Rocket. The BFR.

The BFR combines all the power of the three Falcon cores in the Heavy with 31 next-generation Raptor engines, and a large second stage capable of hauling more cargo than the Saturn V and can land vertically, making it fully reusable.

The Raptor engines in the BFR use a liquid methane and liquid oxygen mix called Methalox as fuel because those are capable of being created on Mars, which is the ultimate destination of the BFR.

But the Raptors are also a huge step up from the Merlin engines because they work at extremely high pressure to burn more efficiently and provide more thrust.

The plan is to begin construction on the BFR sometime in 2018 and the first launch isn’t expected until 2022, but even Elon said that was optimistic.

So we may get a few good years out of the Falcon Heavy yet. But it all starts with the first test launch, which is what makes this so compelling.

How SpaceX’s 2018 Moon Flight Will Work

Nearly 45 years after NASA astronauts last embarked on a lunar mission, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced his company’s plans to send two private citizens on a flight around the moon in 2018.

The weeklong trip will look a lot like NASA’s historic Apollo 8 mission, the first and only purely circumlunar, crewed mission in history.

Sut SpaceX’s mission will fly with two crewmembers instead of three, and will use a fresh new spacecraft and launch vehicle.




SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft to the moon. The rocket and crew capsule have not flown on any missions yet.

But the Falcon Heavy is slated to blast off for its first test launch this summer, and the Dragon 2 will make its first test flight in November.

The Falcon Heavy is a variation of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which was made to carry the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to and from the International Space Station.

With two extra boosters strapped to its sides, the Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket to blast off since NASA’s Saturn rockets, which were retired in the early 1970s.

Musk said the crewed Dragon spacecraft “would skim the surface of the moon” before heading “further out into deep space.” The spacecraft won’t literally touch the lunar surface, though.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Elon Musk’s 2017 SpaceX Update For Mars

On Friday, Elon Musk spoke to the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide Australia to update us on his plans for SpaceX. Here’s the nuts and bolts of it.

Friday, Elon took the stage at the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide Australia and around the world, musketeers gathered around their computers to watch their favorite billionaire visionary slash chief executive stammerer talk about his new plans for Mars.

But that’s not really what they got.

Yes, Elon talked about Mars, but this wasn’t really about Mars so much as it was about the future of SpaceX.

And the first hint of the future of SpaceX is the name he used for their rocket.

Last year, the spaceship he presented was referred to as the ITS, for Interplanetary Transport System.

This was a rocket system specifically designed for voyages to Mars and beyond. This time, the letters ITS were never used. Instead, he went with BFR. For Big F*cking Rocket.

Musk’s new version of the BFR gets smaller, and far, far more versatile.

Satellite deployment, refueling, lunar landing, and shuttling astronauts to the ISS. And as this picture shows, it’s still a pretty big fucking rocket.

This is the future of SpaceX. A one-size-fits all workhorse that can perform a wide variety of functions with only slight modifications to the original design.

In fact, he said that this configuration would make everything before it obsolete, which makes me wonder what is the future of the Falcon Heavy and the Dragon 2?

This workhorse has 31 engines in the first stage as opposed to 42 in the original design. And it’s designed to carry 4400 tons of vehicle mass with 5400 tons of thrust.

He showed in a chart just how much more that is than any other rocket, including the Falcon Heavy. By a long shot.

So maybe the Heavy will just be kept around for special payloads that require it? I don’t know.

But the second stage had a few major changes, including a small delta wing with yaw and pitch controls for better control during re-entry.

He described the crewship as a combination of the Falcon 9 second stage and the Dragon capsule, but bigger.

The crew cabin is designed to carry up to 100 passengers with 40 capsules that Elon says are built for 2 to 3 people each, though you could get 5 in there if you weren’t claustrophobic.

And he says it has as much cabin space as an Airbus 380, which just for reference can carry 853 passengers fully loaded.

One thing that was new was he talked about lunar expeditions and possibly setting up a moon base, which is new for SpaceX but also in line with NASA’s plan to return to the moon.

This obviously positions SpaceX to get some government contracts for lunar missions, which could be a money maker for the BFR.

And back to Mars, he showed a visualization of how the Mars landing would work, using that delta wing shape to slow the craft down in the atmosphere before doing a propulsive landing.

Now he did say that the Mars missions would require producing fuel on Mars, which in rocketspeak is In-Situ Resource Utilization.

Elon’s new timeline put the first trips to Mars in 2022, these are unmanned missions that will carry solar-powered fuel plants to carry out all the stuff I just talked about, along with cargo and food for future missions.

In 2024, he wants to launch 4 ships to Mars, 2 crewed and 2 uncrewed, which are stocked with provisions for a long stay on Mars.

And he showed how a base would start with one landing pad, then becoming multiple landing pads, and growing out a city from there.

Elon himself called these timelines “aspirational” but did say they are already starting to build the first ship so maybe we’ll see these things sooner than we think.

But the big surprise of the night came at the end when Elon channeled his inner Steve Jobs and had one more thing. And suggested that if these rockets could send people to Mars, why not other places on Earth? And unveiled this plan.

It would ferry people to a floating launch pad and launch them to the other side of the world at 27,000 miles per hour, where it would propulsively land less than 30 minutes later.
Basically make long-distance trips as much of a time cost as commuting in bad traffic.

Why Is Elon Musk Digging Tunnels Under Los Angeles?

So back in January of 2016, Musk was speaking at SpaceX’s Hyperloop pod competition, when he said this: “It’s a really simple and obvious idea and I wish more people would do it: build more tunnels. Tunnels are great. It’s just a hole in the ground, it’s not that hard.

But if you have tunnels in cities you would massively alleviate congestion and you could have tunnels at all different levels – you could probably have 30 layers of tunnels and completely fix the congestion problem in high-density cities.

So I strongly recommend tunnels.” But it was something he just kinda said off the cuff and nobody but the most ardent Musk-watchers paid any attention to. He claims to have built a machine that can dig tunnels for transportation 500 to 1000% more efficiently than current boring machines. And his logic is that people in cities live and work in a 3D space, in vertical buildings that can house more people. But our city transportation is on a 2D plane, meaning all these vertically packed people are now crammed into a horizontal space. By creating a 3D transportation grid, we can alleviate the congestion and drive like civilized human beings.

And his logic is that people in cities live and work in a 3D space, in vertical buildings that can house more people. But our city transportation is on a 2D plane, meaning all these vertically packed people are now crammed into a horizontal space. By creating a 3D transportation grid, we can alleviate the congestion and drive like civilized human beings.

Now, there are a couple of criticisms of this plan, one is that this idea’s been around for over a hundred years, it’s called subways. And subways are great for densely packed urban areas like New York but for cities like LA, or Dallas for that matter, where things are spread far apart, not so much.

For example, it’s a 20 or 30 minute drive just to get to my closest light rail station, at that point, I might as well just drive the rest of the way. It’s just not practical. But underground highways under strategic high-traffic arteries could make a big difference. And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

Now, there are a couple of criticisms of this plan, one is that this idea’s been around for over a hundred years, it’s called subways. And subways are great for densely packed urban areas like New York but for cities like LA, or Dallas for that matter, where things are spread far apart, not so much.

For example, it’s a 20 or 30 minute drive just to get to my closest light rail station, at that point, I might as well just drive the rest of the way. It’s just not practical. But underground highways under strategic high-traffic arteries could make a big difference. And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work.

And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

But underground highways under strategic high-traffic arteries could make a big difference. And reducing the time cars are idling in traffic could cut down on pollution as well. The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put

The other criticism is that building tunnels is not nearly as easy as it sounds, even with a giant high-tech earthworm machine doing all the work. Obviously in urban areas there’s all kinds of things we’ve put under the ground in terms of sewers, gas lines, telecommunication lines and so forth.

But we at least know where those are, what we don’t know is other things like pockets of gas, unstable rocks, hidden fault lines, and so forth. But… I’m sure all those things will be addressed before any large-scale tunneling begins in LA., there’s a mountain of bureaucratic red tape to get past before that happens. Which should put completion around the Fall of… never. A side benefit of this tunnel machine would be for SpaceX’s future Mars

A side benefit of this tunnel machine would be for SpaceX’s future Mars colonies, since boring underground would be the best protection against cosmic rays. Now this is of course nowhere near Elon’s first foray into transportation, I mentioned earlier his hyper loop competition, well, he just hosted another competition in January. 27 teams entered designs, of those, 3 were picked to actually run, and of those, two won awards, one for design, and the other for speed, maxing out at 90 kilometers per hour, or 55 miles per hour.

That’s a far cry from the 900 miles per hour predicted for the hyper loop, but it’s early yet, and it’s only a one-mile stretch of track, so it’s probably not getting up to top speed.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Master Plan Is About To Become Reality

This Friday is a day that over 400,000 people have been waiting for since March of 2016. Tesla is officially handing out the first production line Model 3s to reservation holders.

(over footage)
They first introduced the Model 3 16 months ago to huge fanfare, more than $130,000 people put a thousand dollars down before the car was even revealed.

And, full disclosure, I’m one of them. (hold up card) Now, I didn’t put money down before I saw it, I was adamant about that, I had to see it first. But when I saw it, I was like, “eh, why not?”

I can always get the deposit back if I change my mind.

Now I know it’ll be a while before I get mine and that’s fine, my Jetta diesel isn’t going anywhere.

And before you call me a Tesla fanboy in the comments, I cop to it, I’m a fan. And I’m going to assume most of you watching this are fans because… why else would you watch this video, unless you get off on hating things, which… I dunno, that sounds miserable way to live your life to me, but… Kay.

So this is kind-of a big deal, so I wanted to talk about what this launch event means, both to Tesla and the car industry, and throw in my own thoughts and concerns along the way.

Hold on tight because this video’s going into Ludicrous mode.