17 giugno 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 88

Elon Musk News - Issue 88
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. SpaceX ready for second ever reused Falcon 9 launch on June 19
  2. Tesla Model X the First SUV Ever to Achieve 5-Star Crash Rating in Every Category
  3. Elon Musk's Hyperloop Disciple Wants to Run Arrivo Like SpaceX
This week Elon Musk published the plan to make humans a multi-planetary species that he outlined at last year's International Astronautical Congress. It's an excellent read, and answer's the major questions regarding how SpaceX is going to pull off their audacious goal of making humans multi-planetary. The paper is available for free until July 5th, and you can download it here. If you have kids who are interested in Space, I think this would make for excellent bedtime reading :)

I really appreciate you being part of this newsletter, and enjoy issue 88!

Featured Quote
"It is a bit tricky because we have to figure out how to improve the cost of trips to Mars by five million percent. This translates to an improvement of approximately four-and-a- half orders of magnitude. This is not easy. It sounds virtually impossible, but there are ways to do it."
— Elon Musk

From New Space
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 "1029" is nearly ready to conduct its second commercial launch later this weekend after Thursday's successful static fire at Launch Complex 39A. Now scheduled with a window of 2-5 p.m. EST on June 19th, a successful launch will mark the second successful reuse of a Falcon 9 first stage and thus the second ever reuse of an orbital-class rocket. This particular first stage, 1029, is coincidentally symbolic in the sense that it launched SpaceX's first mission after the Amos-6 failure last year.

With a mass estimated around 4000 kilograms, 1029 will very likely be able to attempt a recovery by landing on SpaceX's West coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship. There have also been reports of the mythical Optimus Prime robot conducting tests aboard OCISLY yesterday, hinting that this recovery may be the first time that the robot will be allowed to attempt to secure the recovered first stage after landing on the drone ship.
The Air Force recently released budget estimates for fiscal year 2018, and these include a run out into the early 2020s. For these years, the budget combines the fixed price rocket and ELC contract costs into a single budget line. They are strikingly high. According to the Air Force estimate, the "unit cost" of a single rocket launch in fiscal year 2020 is $422 million, and $424 million for a year later.

The ULA monopoly ended when SpaceX began to compete for national security payloads alongside ULA, and launch them. And side-by-side the government's estimates for ULA launches, SpaceX's costs appear to be considerably lower. For example, about 14 months ago, the Air Force awarded SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS 3 satellite. And in March 2017, SpaceX won a contract to launch another GPS 3 satellite for $96.5 million. These represent "all-in, fully burdened costs" to the government, and so they seem to be roughly comparable to the $422 million "unit cost" in the Air Force budget for 2020.
Elon Musk just published the plan, which he unveiled at a conference in Mexico in September 2016, in the journal New Space. Musk's commentary, titled "Making Humanity a Multi-Planetary Species," is available for free on New Space's website through July 5. "In my view, publishing this paper provides not only an opportunity for the spacefaring community to read the SpaceX vision in print with all the charts in context, but also serves as a valuable archival reference for future studies and planning," New Space editor-in-chief (and former NASA "Mars czar") Scott Hubbard wrote in a statement.
Musk wrote in the New Space article: "If you have been watching the Falcon 9 landings, you will see that they are getting increasingly closer to the bull's-eye. In particular, with the addition of maneuvering thrusters, we think we can actually put the booster right back on the launch stand. Then, those fins at the base are essentially centering features to take out any minor position mismatch at the launch site. In the future, we expect to add additional launch locations, probably adding one on the south coast of Texas, but this gives you a sense of the relative capability"
Zach says: The Model X's crash test videos were just released, you can watch them here.

We engineered Model X to be the safest SUV ever, and today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that after conducting independent testing, it has awarded Model X a 5-star safety rating in every category and sub-category, making it the first SUV ever to earn the 5-star rating across the board. More than just resulting in a 5-star rating, the data from NHTSA's testing shows that Model X has the lowest probability of injury of any SUV it has ever tested. In fact, of all the cars NHTSA has ever tested, Model X's overall probability of injury was second only to Model S.
During the Tesla shareholder's call last week, Musk explained what makes Tesla's so safe. "For death or serious injury for S or an X you really have to — it's hard to do that. The Model S and the X have such a long crumple zone that's two to three times longer than a conventional automotive car that's got a big engine steel block in there. It means you actually are helping even the car that you hit — the combined crumple zone of both cars is substantially longer than if two gasoline cars hit. The safety's not just good for people in the car, it actually helps if you do have a collision with another car."
Tesla wants to test the waters in India before diving in. On Thursday Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla was seeking temporary relief from import duties in India, presumably so it can start selling in the country sooner, and at more affordable prices. A concession from the government will serve as a subsidy in the initial years so they can increase their local presence.

The benefit will likely only be "temporary" but its impact could be long-lasting. If the cars are a hit by the time the import duty makes a comeback, Tesla can start manufacturing in the country and avoid the cost altogether, Majeed suggests. In the meantime, India's infrastructure and supply chain will also get time to mature further. Tesla could offer a much-needed push to realize the government's ambitious target of making all vehicles in India electric by 2030.
The new update features what CEO Elon Musk called a 'silky smooth' new control algorithm for Autosteer, as well as automatic perpendicular parking and automatic display brightness adjustments. The software update also includes full speed Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which was previously restricted to low-speed.

On top of the new control algorithm, Tesla is also pushing two features from the first generation Autopilot that were still missing on the vehicles with second generation hardware - Autopark, and Display brightness. By the end of the week, the fleet should start receiving the update over-the-air as promised by Musk at the shareholder meeting last week.
Tesla has been talking about adding solar arrays and batteries to its Supercharger stations ever since announcing the fast-charging network in 2012. But only half a dozen stations or so out of the over 800 stations ended up getting a solar array. Elon Musk said that they plan to deploy more battery and solar systems with the upcoming 'Version 3' of the Supercharger, but now he went a step further and claimed that "almost all Superchargers will disconnect from the electricity grid."
Tesla updated its website this week to push a notification on the Model 3 page that announces upcoming test drives of the vehicle in "late 2017". While in the past, plenty of Tesla reservation holders have ended up ordering the vehicle without test driving or even seeing it in person in some cases, Tesla has dedicated some early production for test drive fleets. Those vehicles were traveling across Tesla's different markets and were available for short periods of time at Tesla stores for scheduled test drives exclusively for reservation holders. It looks like Tesla is planning to do the same for the Model 3 in late 2017, according to the new notification pushed to several reservation holders this week.
Gone is the cruise control stalk found on the left hand side of the steering of Model S and Model X vehicles, which also served as the hardware used for engaging Autopilot. Tesla Model 3 drivers will enable Autopilot utilizing the main control stalk that allows drivers to place the vehicle into (R)everse, (N)eutral, (D)rive, and (P)ark.  The ubiquitous Autopilot icon now located on the main driving stalk on Model 3 signals drivers that pulling the stalk past (D)rive will activate Tesla's driving-assist and eventual fully autonomous Full Self-Driving capability.

The in-depth Model 3 interior photos posted also provide a first glimpse of the software controls on Model 3's center touchscreen. We can see that the section closest to the driver will have an "app" that highlights the vehicle's "Car Status." A similar app on existing Model S and Model X vehicles allows a driver to view tire pressure reading at each corner along with other visual indicators.
A new analysis by Ben Sullins of Teslanomics has Model 3 deliveries pegged at roughly 83,000 cars delivered in 2017. The bold prediction was derived from a series of statements made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk around Model 3 production ramp, guidance from Tesla's First Quarter results, and historic data outlining production capacity for the Fremont factory.
Tesla's next supercar could claim the title of fastest-accelerating production car. The next-generation Roadster, expected to launch sometime around 2019, will update the company's first car for a new era. On his Twitter account on Tuesday, Elon Musk suggested the new version could aim for never-before-seen performance.

Sam Sheffer, creative producer at Mashable, asked Musk whether the new Roadster will reach 0-60mph in under two seconds. Responding that it would be "an interesting target," Musk said that the car would need to be capable of reaching those goal using street legal tires straight off the production line. Musk has said before that he wants the Roadster to be the company's fastest vehicle, but this is the first suggestion he's given that the car could reach below the two-second mark.

Brogan BamBrogan, the founder and CEO of Arrivo, learned a very important lesson during his time as an engineer for SpaceX: don't waste time. "We're aiming to move fast and develop technology very quick. It's what I learned at SpaceX. Not only does it lead to a very fast technology development but it's potentially a lot more fun to move fast and work hard. We're absolutely building hardware right now."

BamBrogan thinks that tunnels and an integrated system of hyperloop transport and autonomous vehicles is the way forward for urban and national mobility. "To me, that sounds like the future I want to live in, where transportation, or as we call it, arrival technologies are seamless and invisible and go quick and they're fully autonomous. The idea of me getting from downtown Los Angeles to the airport isn't a massive drain on my emotional afternoon but it's an easy, seamless, safe, seven minutes. That's the future I'm trying to be a part of inventing."
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