24 settembre 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 101

Elon Musk News - Issue 101
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster [Video]
  2. Hyperloop One Announces 10 Winners in Its "Global Challenge"
  3. Tesla is holding a 'celebration' event at its new giant Powerpack project on Sept 29
If Elon Musk wasn't the real life Tony Stark, he would make an awesome blooper video editor. On Thursday Musk released a blooper reel of exploding SpaceX rockets. And according to a follow up tweet, he did most of the editing. In some ways it feels as if Musk has gone full circle. A story Musk often tells is that before he started SpaceX, friends would send him videos of exploding rockets in an effort to deter him from founding a rocket company. Now he has his own video full of exploding SpaceX rockets! How meta.

Thank-you so much for being a subscriber, and enjoy issue 101!

Featured Quote
"With rockets, you have to solve the problem of a particular level of difficulty; one person who can solve the problem is worth an infinite number of people who can't."
— Elon Musk

From WikiQuotes
Zach says: SpaceX shared their much anticipated rocket fail video. On Twitter Musk stated that he did most of the editing :)
In August, Elon Musk gave a glimpse of what the company's upcoming astronaut spacesuits would look like. Musk went a step further on Friday and shared the first full-body look of the spacesuit design.

There's more going on in Musk's photo than just the suit. The shot seems to have been taken at the company's Hawthorne, California headquarters, in the same place where the Dragon 2 was first revealed by Musk in 2014. The capsule itself has undergone its own sleek redesign, getting a black-and-white makeover that matches the suit.'
Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were largely spared the brunt of Hurricane Irma due to last-second changes to its projected path. Both SpaceX and ULA have since reported that damages to their facilities are minimal and unlikely to contribute to any delays in upcoming launches, of which SpaceX has several.

While Irma's course veered southeast as it neared the Space Coast, Cape Canaveral eventually experienced some level of heavy rain, flooding, and high winds on Sunday and Monday. A NASA flyover of Kennedy Space Center illustrated this best, with very little damage visible from the helicopter, aside from some limited flooding and some mild damage to the roofs of several buildings.
Zach says: For the sake of brevity I wasn't able to include all the important details below. I highly recommend reading this article in full.

SpaceX's proposed constellation of at least several thousand satellites ends up being at a distinct disadvantage simply because it would take far longer for SpaceX to even partially complete its constellation when compared with competitors like OneWeb, who expect to finish launching the first phase of their constellation several hundred satellites by the end of 2020. Under the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) regulations, SpaceX could be forced by competitors to effectively step on eggshells around their constellations by avoiding interference to the furthest extent possible, rather than simply sharing spectrum in the brief periods where different satellites temporarily interfere with each other.

While the FCC's choice to cede international interference coordination to the ITU is a huge blow to SpaceX's proposed internet constellation efforts, the same September 7th report also eased a handful of other requirements that would have proven difficult for SpaceX's massive constellation. It is possible that SpaceX council will make a statement protesting the FCC's decision, but it is nevertheless likely that the FCC's report will be accepted and become official. While the LEO internet constellation has remained a low priority for SpaceX since it was revealed in 2015, the company has steadily continued work on the project and SpaceX has every reason to continue pursuing it given the potential profit margins it could produce.
SpaceX's 1.6-acre circular concrete landing pad was recently constructed directly west of its launchpad at Space Launch Complex 4 in the hills outside Lompoc. It could be in operation as early as this year. While SpaceX hopes to rely on it for most West Coast landings, it also proposed to operate a second Pacific Ocean landing barge 31 miles off the Santa Barbara County coastline to recover boosters diverted from the ground by sensitive base operations. State environmental reviews approved the proposal, with the caveat that SpaceX do some mitigating preparations to protect ocean life from sonic booms and potential explosions.
After the Supercharger network for long distance travel and Destination chargers for charging once at a destination, Tesla is now unveiling a new version of its Supercharger designed as an urban charging solution. Tesla wrote in a blog post:

"Supercharger stations in urban areas will be installed in convenient locations, including supermarkets, shopping centers and downtown districts, so it's easy for customers to charge their car in the time it takes to grocery shop or run errands… Superchargers in urban areas have a new post design that occupies less space and is easier to install, making them ideal for dense, highly populated areas. To increase efficiency and support a high volume of cars, these Superchargers have a new architecture that delivers a rapid 72 kilowatts of dedicated power to each car. This means charging speeds are unaffected by Tesla vehicles plugging into adjacent Superchargers, and results in consistent charging times around 45 to 50 minutes for most drivers."
With Tesla's new 'urban' Superchargers, which are locked at a lower 72 kW charging rate, Tesla now has a more significant range of charging capacities between its first and second generation long-distance Superchargers and now those new urban ones. It can be useful for Tesla drivers to know the power capacity beforehand and in the new 'v8.1 2017.36 1b27c6d' software update, they now have access to it right from the car.

Tesla describes the feature in the release notes: "Supercharging your Model S isn't always just about finding the nearest Supercharger. Sometimes it's about finding the one that will get you back on the road the quickest, even if it's a little farther away. Model S now displays the maximum power available for each location, so you can choose one that best fits your needs."
Zach says: This article has a small gallery and short video showing what these new urban superchargers in Chicago look like.

The first two stations are in Chicago and Boston. Keith Trice went to the one in Chicago and shared a few pictures.
Tesla originally planned to unveil its upcoming new all-electric truck, Tesla Semi, at the end of September. Now Elon Musk says that it has been pushed to October 26th. Musk Tweeted: "Tesla Semi truck unveil & test ride tentatively scheduled for Oct 26th in Hawthorne. Worth seeing this beast in person. It's unreal."
Tesla grew its business in China significantly since a tough launch back in 2014 and the company highlights its progress in a new video with testimonies from owners. Tesla China tripled its sales in 2016 to over $1 billion with over 11,000 deliveries and they continued their streak during the first quarter 2017 with a record quarter. That's despite the company not having access to all EV incentives in the country and its vehicles being subject to a 25% import duty.

Earlier this year, they announced a new expansion with more Supercharger stations and new stores. Tesla's investments in China have so far been limited to retail, service and charging infrastructure, but the company is working with the Shanghai government to establish manufacturing capacity in the country.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is partly blaming Tesla's Autopilot system for the fatal, May 7, 2016, crash of a Tesla near Williston, Florida. They determined that the Autopilot's "operational limitations played a role" in the crash even though it "functioned as designed", according to the board.

Reuters reported: "The chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Tuesday "operational limitations" in the Tesla Model S played a "major role" in the May 2016 crash that killed a driver using the vehicle's semi-autonomous "Autopilot" system." NTSB says that "humans are very poor at monitoring automated systems" and that systems need to ensure that drivers stay vigilant and keep monitoring their vehicle, something Tesla asks of drivers when using Autopilot. Since the accident, Tesla introduced more alert systems to ensure that drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel when using Autopilot.
Tesla's recently introduced new Autopilot hardware suite, dubbed "2.5", in all its vehicles to enable more power and redundancy for its future self-driving capability. A Tesla spokesperson stated: "We recently introduced some minor hardware changes to the Autopilot system in new cars, and we are now in the process of robustly validating the new hardware using real-world driving data. During that process, Automatic Emergency Braking will temporarily be inactive and will instead be in shadow mode, which means it will register how the feature would perform if it were activated, without taking any action..."

Tesla still believes that it can still bring "full self-driving capability" to vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 hardware and there's no difference for the current Autopilot features active in the vehicle. If the automaker doesn't enable"full self-driving capability" to vehicles with Autopilot 2.0, it plans to offer free retrofits to "Autopilot hardware 2.5".
Last year, Tesla pushed the boundaries of Michigan's ban on direct sales model by opening a showroom in the state. But it was only a small location inside a Nordstrom store, now Tesla is expanding in the state further while still in a legal battle over its right to sell. A change to the law in 2014 prohibits direct sales from automakers, which is blocking Tesla from obtaining a dealership license and sell cars in the state. Last year, Tesla filed a lawsuit against the state after claiming that the ban on direct sales violates commerce laws and that it was pushed by car dealers and GM in an attempt to block the electric automaker.

While Tesla can't sell vehicles directly at retail locations, they can sell them online and educate the public at stores that they call "galleries." Employees working at those galleries can't discuss pricing or delivery information, nor can they even give test drives, but they can still educate people about Tesla's products.
Tesla Energy
Part of the reason for Tesla winning the contract to build the most powerful energy storage project in the world, a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system in South Australia, was Tesla's promise that they could deliver it in 100 days or it would be free. It looks like Tesla is on schedule since they just sent out invitations to a 'celebration' event at the site.

The new system is located at Neoen's Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia. Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that Tesla would try to get the system online by the end of September and while we already knew that he would be nearby at the end of the month since he is attending the 2017 International Astronautical Conference on September 29, now they confirmed that there will also be an event for the project on the same day.
After competitions in the United States, Europe, and Asia earlier this year, Hyperloop One announced on Thursday it had selected ten proposed routes for the first hyperloop. In a statement on Thursday, the company announced it would "commit meaningful business and engineering resources and work closely with each of the winning teams/routes to determine their commercial viability." It was unclear actually when work on determining the viability would occur from the statement.

The 10 proposed routes are: Cheyenne-Denver-Pueblo, Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh, Miami-Orlando, Dallas-Houston, Edinburgh-London, Glasgow-Liverpool, Mexico City-Guadalajara, Bengaluru-Chennai, Mumbai-Chennai, Toronto-Montreal.
Zach says: Rocky Mountain Hyperloop is one of the 10 winners in Hyperloop One's Global Challenge. As explained below, it looks like Colorado could be leapfrog the other winners.

So how did Rocky Mountain Hyperloop jump straight to a feasibility study instead of merely determining "their commercial viability" that the other 9 routes are getting? From the start, it got buy-in from the state's government. Back in April, when Hyperloop One invited 11 teams from around the country to show off their proposed routes at a "global challenge" event in Washington, D.C., along with Boone was Shailen Bhatt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. Crucially for Hyperloop One, state governments can determine how to spend federal transportation funds, in addition to its own state money — not to mention the built-in political leverage that comes with it.

Few of the other groups that proposed a hyperloop route to the company had the sort of government support that the Rocky Mountain group could claim. That made the difference, says Dan Katz, policy director for Hyperloop One. "What Colorado is doing is turning ideas on paper into action, and that's the kind of leadership we need to from other governments to make these projects a reality," Katz said.
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