Tag: Elon Musk

Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Electric Truck – And A Surprise New Sports Car

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first electric semi-truck on Thursday evening at an event in Los Angeles that also included the surprise reveal of a new Tesla sports car.

The new Roadster, which has the same name as the first electric vehicle produced by Tesla from 2008 to 2012, emerged from the back of one of the trucks at the end of a presentation that focused largely on the economic and performance needs of truck drivers.

The point of doing this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk said. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”




While the sports car provided a jolt of excitement for Tesla enthusiasts, much of the event focused on pitching the truck to truck drivers – customers with very different concerns than the average Tesla owner.

In typical Musk style, the CEO had hyped the truck on Twitter throughout the week.

On Sunday, he promised that it “will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension”, while on Wednesday he teased that the truck “can transform into a robot, fight aliens and make one hell of a latte”.

There was no espresso machine to be seen, but Musk did promise a laundry list of features that he claimed would ensure the overall cost of ownership will be 20% less per mile compared with diesel trucks.

Among them: faster acceleration, better uphill performance, a 500-mile (805km) range at maximum weight at highway speed, and “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass” in the windshield.

Safety features include enhanced autopilot, lane-keeping technology, and a design that makes jackknifing “impossible”, Musk said.

Musk claimed it would be “economic suicide” to continue using diesel trucks, saying the Tesla version, if driven in convoy, would be cheaper than shipping goods by rail.

The CEO’s promises for the new Roadster were no less ambitious. Musk said the car’s acceleration from 0 to 60 mph and 0 to 100 mph, as well as its quarter-mile speed, were all “world records” for production cars.

He said production on the trucks would begin in 2019 and the sports cars would be available in 2020.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

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.

SpaceX Wants To Build One Rocket To Rule Them All

Elon Musk gave a keynote address yesterday to the International Aeronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.

During the 43 minute talk, which is embedded above, Musk laid out SpaceX’s future including colonizing Mars and building one rocket to rule them all.




The talk is fantastic. Elon was Elon and revealed countless details about future SpaceX plans. This is why he’s celebrated in certain circles.

He doesn’t hold back whether on Twitter or during interviews. Unlike other Silicon Valley companies, he seemingly keeps fewer details secret and is more willing to talk about things his companies are building.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

SpaceX’s Rocket Landing ‘Blooper Reel’ Is Epic And Explosive

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk likes reusability.

With 16 successful rocket landings under its belt, along with two reused rockets and one reused Dragon spacecraft, Musk’s rocket company has made giant leaps in reusable booster technology for sure.

But an amazing new video from the company, which Musk has touted as a mere “blooper reel,” shows just how hard it is to launch rockets into space and land them safely again.

Musk posted the video called “How Not to Land a Rocket” on Twitter today, September 14, 2017.




SpaceX’s most recent rocket landing occurred Sept. 6 after the launch of an Air Force X-37B space plane.

He teased the video’s arrival last week: “Putting together SpaceX rocket landing blooper reel. We messed up a lot before it finally worked, but there’s some epic explosion footage.

The video is set to a soundtrack of John Philip Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell” march (which also served as the theme song for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”).

It shows a series of rocket-landing fails dating back to 2013 as SpaceX tried repeatedly to perfect the technology needed to land the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets back on Earth.

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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.

SpaceX Says It Plans to Send A Spacecraft to Mars

red-dragon-mars

Today, Elon Musk suggested that SpaceX will abandon its plans to land the company’s Dragon capsule on Mars — a mission the company had been aiming to do as early as 2020.

SpaceX will not fully develop the landing technique it was going to use to land the Dragon on Mars. Known as the Red Dragon mission, the capsule was meant to lower itself to solid ground using engines embedded in its hull.

And then touch down gently on landing legs in a method known as propulsive landing. But Musk said the company will come up with another way to land vehicles on the Martian surface.




“There was a time when I thought that the Dragon approach to landing on Mars… would be the right way to land on Mars,” Musk said at the ISS R&D Conference in Washington, DC today.

“But now I’m pretty confident that is not the right way. There’s a far better approach. That’s what the next generation of SpaceX rockets and spacecraft is going to do.”

Musk did not explain what that approach would be, though, or which vehicles the company would try to land on Mars in the future.

Later, Musk tweeted that SpaceX is still going to try to do a propulsive landing on Mars at some point, just with a bigger vehicle.

red-dragon-mars

The decision means SpaceX’s Dragon capsules will stick to landing with parachutes here on Earth, too.

That’s the current method SpaceX uses to land its cargo Dragon capsule, a version of the vehicle used to deliver supplies to and from the International Space Station.

The company has been working on an updated version of the capsule called Dragon 2 that will eventually carry people back and forth from the ISS, and SpaceX hoped to have that vehicle land propulsively with people on board.

Safety concerns prompted SpaceX to abandon the concept for Dragon 2. Specifically, Musk said that “it would have taken a tremendous amount of effort to qualify that for safety” with NASA.

red-dragon-mars

But it’s not clear if safety was the main reason for not landing the Dragon on Mars, too. The propulsive landing technique may have simply been too difficult to develop for carrying a crew on the Dragon, so SpaceX decided to just go with parachutes. It wouldn’t then make sense to use the Dragon to land on Mars.

Musk said the Dragon 2 will still be capable of landing propulsively, though. That’s because the engines it would need to do the landing will still be installed on the capsule.

The engines are crucial for the Dragon’s abort system: they can fire up if there’s an emergency during launch and carry the capsule and its crew up and away to safety.

mars

However without landing legs, landing with the engines would be extra difficult to pull off. “You’d have to land it on some pretty soft landing pad,” he said.

Musk also announced that he may update his Mars colonization plans at the upcoming International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, this September.

He didn’t say much about what has changed except that the huge rocket SpaceX hopes to build for the endeavor is going to be a little bit smaller than its original design.

spaceX

Musk also brought up another rocket that SpaceX has been working on for many years: the Falcon Heavy. The vehicle, which is essentially three Falcon 9 cores strapped together, is supposed to fly for the first time later this year.

But Musk made sure to lower people’s expectations about the rocket’s first flight. He’d consider the flight a success if it doesn’t burn up the launchpad; the Falcon Heavy likely won’t reach orbit during its maiden voyage, according to Musk.

He also had an adjective for the customers whose payloads are slated to fly on the Falcon Heavy’s first flight: “brave.”

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Tesla Is About To Build The World’s Biggest Lithium-Ion Battery

windmill

Elon Musk has announced plans to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery in South Australia.

The billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla boss said he the battery would be more than three times the size of the current record holder, speaking at a conference in Adelaide alongside Jay Weatherill, the state’s premier.

The battery will be 100 megawatts, more than three times the size of the next largest battery, which is 30 megawatts, according to Musk. It will be able to hold around 129 megawatt hours of power, which Tesla estimates could power 30,000 homes.




“There is certainly some risk, because this will be the largest battery installation in the world by a significant margin,” said Musk. “When you make something three times as big, does it still work as well? We think it will, but there is some risk in that. We’re confident in our techniques and the design of the system.”

South Australia, home to almost 2 million people, has been plagued with energy problems, resulting in a state-wide blackout in September last year amid one of the most severe storms for half a century. The battery is part of the state’s A$550 million energy plan.

In an attempt to stabilise the state’s energy, Tesla is teaming up with French energy company Neoen to build that battery within 100 days.

tesla

If the pair don’t meet this target, Musk said the battery would be free for the state and cost Tesla around A$50m. “That’s what we said publicly, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

The Tesla-built battery will work alongside a wind farm built by Neoen to provide power 24-hours a day when required in emergencies. The battery will charge when excess power is available and start working when the cost of producing energy is high.

elon musk

“It will completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored and stabilise the South Australian network, as well as putting downward pressure on prices,” said Weatherill.

“Battery storage is the future of our national energy market and they eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space.” 

Tesla has been expanding its battery arm, recently building a 80 megawatt hour grid-scale farm in California in three months.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

SpaceX Has Launched And Landed Two Falcon 9 Rockets In One Weekend

Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX successfully launched two payloads into orbit over the weekend, and then landed the first-stage booster from each rocket onto one of the company’s drone ships.

Last Friday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first telecommunications satellite for the country of Bulgaria from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first stage booster for that rocket which had already been launched, landed, and refurbished once before was successfully maneuvered down for a safe landing on a barge called “Of Course I Still Love You”.




Last Sunday, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located northwest of Los Angeles.

The first stage booster from that rocket was landed on the ship “Just Read the Instructions,” which was floating in the Pacific.

These events marked the fastest turnaround for SpaceX launches from two different sites, according to Spaceflight Now. SpaceX’s continued success with landing and re-using boosters could save the company and its customers millions of dollars.

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Pass it on: New Scientist