06 luglio 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 90

Elon Musk News - Issue 90
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News Premium are:
  1. SpaceX Pulls Off Two Drone Ship Landings in Three Days
  2. Elon Musk's First Boring Machine Has Begun Tunneling
  3. Tesla's Focus Means Victory Versus Complacent Mainstream In Electric Cars, Analyst Says
This week Bloomberg published a 1990s esque micro-site called The Future According to Elon Musk. It tracks all of Elon's projects on a timeline, and is updated daily. While you don't get the detail provided by other mediums (like this newsletter 😉), it does provide an excellent macro view of what Elon's working on in an entertaining package. I highly recommend checking it out!

Thanks so much for being part of this community and enjoy issue 90!

Featured Quote
"No longer waiting for Godot. It has begun boring and just completed the first segment of tunnel in LA."
— Elon Musk

From @elonmusk
Zach says: Missed the live webcasts (or want to watch them again)? Here they are:
Following a successful Falcon 9 launch and high impact landing on Friday off the coast of Florida, SpaceX was back at it again Sunday, this time delivering 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But extreme weather was a factor on Sunday, with fog enveloping the Falcon 9 on the launch pad. Luckily, it was not enough to affect its flight and the mission went off without a hitch.

The successful launch and landing marked a momentous weekend for SpaceX, with the company performing droneship landings at each end of the continent on its tightest launch schedule yet. Just before the Sunday launch, Elon Musk was tweeting that the launch would indeed be a little iffy. "Launch at 1:25 delivering 10 satellites for Iridium," he posted. "Droneship repositioned due to extreme weather. Will be tight." Still the weather didn't turn out to be a major detriment as the Falcon 9 ascended the atmosphere, released its cargo, and began its descent towards the Pacific Ocean.
Of Course I Still Love, SpaceX's East coast drone ship, docked in Port Canaveral Thursday morning with its Falcon 9 cargo in tow. It became apparent once it was within line of sight that this recovery marked the first use of SpaceX's robotic stage securer, amicably deemed 'Optimus Prime' or 'Roomba' by fans following along.

Photos of the robot mated with 1029 confirm that it was designed to grab onto the hold-down clamps located on the outside of the Falcon 9's octaweb structure. It's difficult to tell from the photos available, but it is also likely that the stage is secured simply by the weight of the robot, which is expected to weigh at least as much as an empty first stage.
Zach says: SpaceX conducted a successful Static Fire test Thursday on pad 39A.

SpaceX's launch of Intelsat 35e has been scheduled for July 2nd at 4:36 p.m. PST. A launch from LC-39A on July 2nd would give SpaceX at most nine days from the launch of BulgariaSat-1 to ready the pad once more. There is a possibility that SpaceX could launch three separate missions in as few as nine days.

Intelsat 35e will become the largest communications satellite SpaceX has ever sent to orbit, weighing in at ~6000 kilograms. Designed to last at least 15 years in geostationary orbit, it is expected that SpaceX will attempt to place the satellite into a higher energy geostationary transfer orbit in order to reduce the amount of time it takes the commsat to reach its final planned orbit. This translates to an expendable Falcon 9 Full Thrust that will be pushed close to its payload and orbit limits. While it is now somewhat sad to see a Falcon 9 first stage unable to attempt recovery, this will still be a thoroughly exciting launch, especially considering the impressive mass of the satellite.
Zach says: You can listen to The Space Show podcast where these Gwynne Shotwell quotes were taken from here.

"We are flying Block 3s right now," Shotwell (President and COO of SpaceX) said. "Block 4s start flying shortly, and then Block 5 at the end of this year. We definitely have gotten better [at] more smooth introducing of change. You don't see the big impacts to production we've had before when we've changed vehicle designs." The Falcon 9 Block 5 is expected to be far more reusable than the Block 3. Shotwell said a Block 5 booster could relaunch " a dozen or so times." The Block 3, by comparison, has an estimated life of two or three missions.

Shotwell said Arabsat will be the first customer for the Falcon Heavy when it begins commercial service in 2018, following a demonstration mission later this year. Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat purchased a Falcon Heavy launch for Arabsat-6A in 2015. The Air Force contracted the Space Test Program-2 launch in 2012. Shotwell described both those missions as happening "early next year."
The autonomous droneships used by SpaceX are named after the sentient ships in Banks's The Player of Games, first published in 1988 Here's the relevant passage from the book:

"He had a sudden, paranoid idea. He turned to Chamlis urgently. 'These friends of yours are ships.' 'Yes,' Chamlis said. 'Both of them.' 'What are they called?' 'The Of Course I Still Love You and the Just Read The Instructions.' 'They're not warships?' 'With names like that? They're [General Contact Units, a type of ship used primarily for exploration and communication]; what else?' 'Good,' Gurgeh said, relaxing a little, looking out to the square again. 'Good. That's all right.' He took a deep breath."
Tesla will win big in the race to sell electric cars to the world, a German analyst believes, because the competition from traditional manufacturers has been complacent and Elon Musk's California upstart will win a near monopoly of the market. Tesla is out investing the competition, which hampers itself by seeking to save money by building on legacy engineering rather than developing new and focused technology, according to a report from analyst Alexander Haissl of Hamburg, Germany-based Berenberg Bank.

"To contrast Tesla with even the most forward looking (manufacturers), we estimate Tesla will invest $32.7 billion over the next 5 years – roughly 40% more than Daimler and Volkswagen combined have committed for their EV projects," Haissl said.
Albeit being about 6 months late, Tesla finally started pushing the new Linux kernel update to the center console in its vehicles this week. While it's only a backend upgrade, Musk associated it with several long-awaited improvements to the vehicle's user interface. Now that the kernel upgrade is here, those improvements shouldn't be too far behind.

Interestingly, the upgrade was only pushed to the center information display (CID), the large 17-inch screen at the center of the vehicle, and not the instrument cluster (IC). For most Tesla owners, the release notes of the latest update only refer to "minor software fixes and enhancements", but it also brought navigation and Autopilot to Taiwan, where Tesla started delivering its vehicles earlier this year, but owners didn't have access to the features. Musk said to expect the next update in July.
Sunday night, a Tesla Model 3 prototype was spotted arriving in New Zealand through the Auckland airport. It's the first time that the vehicle is spotted outside the US and at the same time, it increases significantly the distance of a sighting from Tesla's Palo Alto headquarters, where most Model 3 release candidates have been spotted so far.

If you are speculating on the reason why a Model 3 prototype is showing up in New Zealand, our money would be for creating media content, videos and photo on the country's scenic routes, or snow testing considering it's winter there.
In the US (this is not applicable in Europe and some other markets), those chargers feature a connector proprietary to Tesla and therefore, only Tesla vehicles can charge on them. But we often see other universal J1772 level 2 chargers at the same locations where Tesla installed the Destination Chargers.

We assumed that the businesses decided to add chargers for other EVs, but we now learn that in some cases, it was actually Tesla's idea. The company went out of its way to install chargers for other electric vehicles, technically competitors, in order to expand charging infrastructure. Electrek has talked to several business owners with Destination Chargers and some of them revealed that Tesla suggested them to install a Clipper Creek Charger, along with the Tesla Wall Connector, at no additional cost.
Tesla Energy
While most of the attention around Tesla's effort in the solar industry is currently focused on its new solar roof tiles, the company is still installing regular solar panels under SolarCity, which is currently transitioning to become 'Tesla Solar'. Through that program, Tesla has now started displaying new 'Tesla Solar' branded solar panels in its stores.

As of now and since before the acquisition by Tesla, SolarCity, like most solar installers, used solar panels from several different suppliers for its residential and commercial projects, but that's about to change. Like the solar roof, the move is part of Elon Musk's plan to offer solar products with better aesthetics in order to create a distinctive brand that can be differentiated from other installers on a product basis. As part of this effort, Tesla is now advertising those new Tesla-branded panels in store in Washington.
Community solar, which enables several households to benefit from a single solar array, has become increasingly popular in certain markets over the past few years – especially for people living in apartments and condominiums. Now community energy storage is also becoming a thing and Tesla is about to help deploy Europe's largest community battery project to date.

Blueprint, the developers of a new housing development in Nottingham called 'Trent Basin', announced that they chose Tesla Powerpacks to store energy for the community solar+battery project. The installation will have a capacity of 2 MWh and it will both store energy from the local 375 kW community solar array and provide grid services. During Tesla's annual shareholder meeting earlier this month, Musk said that while they have mainly been talking about their large Powerpack projects with electric utilities, commercial projects are adding up and becoming a significant market for Tesla Energy.
The Boring Company
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has opened talks with Elon Musk. When Musk heard of the mayor's continuing desire to speed traffic between the Loop and the airport to raise the city's business profile, he pitched The Boring Company. Chicago Deputy Mayor Steve Koch flew out to Los Angeles late last week to personally meet with Musk, and he came back impressed. "It was fascinating, really interesting. We're going to try to see if they can make it work here. It depends on the cost, but I'm as intrigued as I've been (with anything) for a while."

According to Koch, Boring's line to O'Hare would offer smaller-sized passenger cars that would leave more frequently, as soon as they're filled, and travel at speeds of up to 125 mph via an "electric sled" propulsion technology.
Wednesday, Elon Musk announced that The Boring Company's first machine, whimsically named "Godot" after the play Waiting for Godot, has begun work in Los Angeles. When the tunnel's route is complete, it will run from the LAX International Airport to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks, and could help alleviate the city's notoriously terrible traffic. "No longer waiting for Godot," Musk tweeted. "It has begun boring and just completed the first segment of tunnel in L.A."
Zach says: This Bloomberg page has been cited by numerous media outlets this week. It's an homage to to great web design of the 90s, and serves as a wonderful reference on everything Musk is doing.
Paysa used IBM's supercomputer Watson to determine the top 11 most cautious tech leaders in Silicon Valley and around the U.S., scoring them on a a scale from 0 (least cautious) to 1.0 (most cautious). To arrive at these results, Paysa "gathered speeches, essays, books, the transcripts of interviews and other forms of communication produced by those highlighted above. After we'd obtained over 2,500 words, we fed these through the Watson Personality Insights API."

"Personality Insights extracts personality characteristics based on how a person writes," according to IBM Watson's website. It might be surprising that Musk is considered the most cautious CEO in tech, especially given his moonshot ideas and companies. It's important, however, for leaders like Musk to take calculated risks versus ones that are simply crazy.
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