11 ottobre 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 104

Elon Musk News - Issue 104
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. Puerto Rico Governor Wants Tesla's Help On a 'Flagship Project'
  2. SpaceX on track to set record back-to-back Falcon 9 launches, 38 hours apart
  3. Tesla delivers record 26,150 vehicles in Q3, only 220 Model 3 sedans
In an incredible turn of events, it looks like Tesla could have a shot at rebuilding Puerto Rico's electrical system. Musk tweeted yesterday that Tesla could do this for Puerto Rico, and today the Governor replied by saying that he would call Musk to discuss what could be a "flagship project" for Tesla. Exciting times indeed.

Also, be sure to tune into SpaceX's webcasts this weekend. SpaceX will launch SES-11 on Saturday at 3:53 pm PDT, and Iridium NEXT-3 on Monday at 5:37 am PDT. If successful, this will be SpaceX's fastest launch cadence yet.

Thanks so much for being part of this community, and enjoy issue 104!

Featured Quote
"The internal Tesla Powerwall install team in PR is very small right now. Sending experienced installers from continental US to hire & train local team as fast as possible."
— Elon Musk

From @elonmusk
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SpaceX's launch schedules have already solidified, but Elon Musk confirmed on Oct. 3 that the company is "aiming for two rocket landings in 48 hours this weekend". In fact, a brief examination of the schedules suggests that SpaceX could attempt those two launches and landings in as few as 38 hours, easily beating the company's previous launch cadence record of ~50 hours.

The two missions planned for "this weekend" are SES-11 on Saturday evening and Iridium NEXT-3 bright and early on Monday, October 9. Mirroring an exciting period of rapid-fire launches earlier this summer, SpaceX will again attempt to conduct two launches from both the West and East coasts nearly simultaneously. Just like the launch of BulgariaSat-1 and Iridium NEXT-3 in late June, the two upcoming launches will make use of one "new" Falcon 9 and one that has been recovered and refurbished. SES-11 will lift off atop Falcon 9 1031, previously tasked with launching the CRS-10 Dragon, and will be the third commercial reuse of SpaceX's Falcon 9 first stage in 2017.
Earlier this year, the White House announced plans to reestablish the National Space Council (NSC), an advising body that dates back to the creation of NASA in 1958. The council convened for the first time on October 5 and invited several central figures in US spaceflight, including SpaceX's President and COO Gwynne Shotwell. In a brief but powerful speech to the Council, Shotwell urged the US Federal government to apply the lessons learned from NASA's successful private-public partnerships to efforts to expand human presence in Low Earth Orbit and beyond.

Those successful partnerships include NASA COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services), which funded SpaceX to develop its Cargo Dragon spacecraft to resupply the ISS, and the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) that funded SpaceX for the development of their crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft. The commercial space panel ended with what effectively sounded like a handshake deal between the Vice President, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to review current commercial spaceflight regulations and report the results of those reviews to the NSC in no more than 45 days.
Visible modifications to LC-39A, SpaceX's operational launch facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida are almost certainly being made in preparation for Falcon Heavy's inaugural flight, which Musk stated would "hopefully [launch] towards the end of this year". While verging on esoteric, the modifications that were made to LC-39A so far have focused on the Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL), a massive white structure tasked with carrying Falcon 9 to and from the pad itself for static fires and launches.

There are two shiny new launch clamps, which are fittingly tasked with clamping hold of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. This enables SpaceX to both conduct its relatively unique static fires, and also gives the Falcon family the ability to abort launches after all main engines have ignited. Whereas Falcon 9 only requires four clamps, Falcon Heavy will need a total of eight clamps. Conveniently, the structure upon which the clamps are installed was designed from the start to be somewhat modular. This will allow SpaceX to more easily swap out launch clamp inserts and switch back and forth between Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 launches.
Tesla confirmed today its third quarter 2017 delivery numbers and the automaker delivered a record number of vehicles, including a few Model 3 sedans for the first time. The automaker had previously guided over 23,000 Model S and Model X deliveries during the third quarter and it significantly beat the guidance with 14,065 Model S sedans and 11,865 Model X SUVs. It represents a 4.5% increase quarter-over-quarter and 17.7% increase over the same period last year. As for Model 3, Tesla confirmed slow production of only 260 units:

"Model 3 production was less than anticipated due to production bottlenecks. Although the vast majority of manufacturing subsystems at both our California car plant and our Nevada Gigafactory are able to operate at high rate, a handful have taken longer to activate than expected. It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term."
On reddit, a user posted a photo which we can't quite confirm the source of, but is reportedly from "an undisclosed place in California where they test Tesla vehicles."  While we can't see any logos or other confirmation that this is the actual Tesla truck, it certainly looks like it – the headlights and fenders match up, the nose looks like it doesn't have an engine in it, and the angle of the windshield looks similar to the teaser photo.

The truck in the photo does look slightly different than the teaser, in that the real-world photo seems to be lacking height. However, on the left side of the photo there's a large silver object sitting on the ground. It looks like this might be one of those "aerodynamic shrouds," intended to be placed on top of the tractor to reduce drag from the trailer. Since the tractor is not currently towing a trailer in the photo (and in fact is being towed itself), it makes sense that the shroud would be off in this instance.
Tesla's Supercharger network just reached a new milestone today: 1,000 Supercharger stations worldwide. The milestone was achieved by opening a new Supercharger station in Franklin Park near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania today. It became the 1,000th Tesla Supercharger location in the world with a total of 6,934 Supercharger stalls.

It was also the 226th new station that Tesla brought online this year alone, which shows that they are growing the network rapidly. Tesla started out the year with an average of 6.6 Superchargers per station and now it's up to 6.9 per station. The change is more obvious when only accounting for the stations installed this year, which have an average of 8.5 chargers per station. That average is expected to increase significantly before the end of the year as Tesla is currently building several stations with 20 or more stalls, even a few with 40 to 50 stalls.
One of the main concerns of some Tesla Model 3 reservation holders is the availability of the $7,500 federal tax credit that starts to phase out after Tesla hits 200,000 deliveries in the US. The first metric to estimate when Tesla is going to hit the phase-out period is the number of cars delivered in the US – something Tesla doesn't disclose since it doesn't break down deliveries by markets. Sources familiar with Tesla's North American sales confirmed that Tesla recently reached just over 140,000 cars delivered in the US.

We expect 15,000 to 25,000 available federal tax credits to slip into Q1 2018. It means that they could hit the threshold during the first quarter or Tesla could (and should) time its 200,000th delivery right after the end of the first quarter since the way the phase-out period is set up, buyers still have access to the full credit for the current quarter and another full quarter – meaning they would still have access to the $7,500 credit in Q2 2018 and Q3 2018.
Tesla drag racing fanatic behind the Tesla Racing Channel on YouTube has set a new 1/4 mile record in their stripped-down Model S P100D. The always-Ludicrous crew known to troll the streets for a good ol' fashioned head-to-head battle of acceleration has spent the past month dropping weight on their Model S. The end result was a weight reduction of nearly 500 lbs (220 kg) from its factory 4,941 lbs weight and a record-setting 1/4 mile blast at 10.41 seconds at 125.12 mph. This beats their previously held record at 10.44 seconds.
By delivering over 1,000 cars during the last week of September, Tesla reached a record delivery month with a total of 2,004 vehicles delivered. Tesla had record Model X deliveries with 997 deliveries and Model S also had its best month in over a year with 1,007 units. They were the third and second best-selling vehicles in the country – only beaten by the VW Golf.
Tesla has been expanding its Fremont factory over the last year to support its increasing vehicle production – especially the new Model 3 production, but the company is also in need of more office space as its Palo Alto headquarters are over occupied. Tesla has signed a lease and is now renovating 2 office buildings in the region.

Tesla has leased 230,000 square feet of office space between two buildings at 6800 Dumbarton Circle and 6900 Dumbarton Circle in Fremont. One building has 116,000-square-foot of office space, which they estimate could accommodate 580 employees and the other building offer 113,000-square-foot of space, which could house roughly 570 employees. It's located near the Dumbarton Bridge between Tesla's Fremont factory and Tesla's headquarters, which are the automaker's two main locations in the Bay Area.
Tesla Energy
The governor of Puerto Rico has signalled his support for Elon Musk's plan to use solar to restore power to the hurricane-stricken island. On Friday, Governor Ricardo Rossello made plans over Twitter to speak with Elon Musk, describing the idea as potentially turning into the company's "flagship project." Just one day prior, Musk outlined an idea to restore power to the island, parts of which are expected to spend the next four to six months without energy after Hurricane Maria.

"The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too," Musk said on Twitter Thursday. "Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR."
Zach says: The video included in this article has been taken down, however I found another video of Elon speaking at the event taken by someone in the front row. Watch it here.

"What this serves as is a great example for the rest of the world of what can be done," Musk said. "So when this is done, which will be in just a few months, it will be the largest battery installation, by an estimated power factor of three, in the world." The Powerpack opening event was powered entirely by the Powerpack system, giving attendees a taste of what was possible. "Talk is cheap, action is difficult. And the reason we worked as hard as we possibly could and got as much done as possible was to show that it's not just talk it's reality," Musk said.

"Everything you see here, this whole event, everything, is powered by those packs," he said, pointing out the window at the battery facility. "There are no generators, this is all coming from that system over there. As you guys know, a year ago the situation was pretty dire … One tweet leads to another, and then pretty soon that," he said, pointing again to the Powerpack facility. For Musk and Tesla, the Hornsdale battery facility is the first step toward revolutionizing energy across the globe.
Missouri officials announced the formation of a public-private partnership to study the feasibility of building a hyperloop route between St. Louis and Kansas City. The study is being supported by Hyperloop One. The study is being conducted by a consortium of groups, including the Missouri Department of Transportation, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the KC Tech Council, the University of Missouri System, and the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia.

St. Louis to Kansas City is a 248-mile route that takes around three hours and 40 minutes by car, or about 55 minutes by plane. Hyperloop One claims the trip would just take 31 minutes. Of course, that depends on building hundreds of miles of tubes, either above ground on pylons along a highway like I-70, or through underground tunnels. The Missouri study will explore all these options, as well the amount of state money that would be needed to build it.
Elon Musk is a big fan of Rick and Morty, so it should come as no surprise that he has some opinions about Sunday's highly-anticipated season finale. Musk has previously described the show as "kinda disgusting," but admitted that he and his children "love it." So what did he make of "The Rickchurian Mortydate," the final episode of the third season? "Final episode was disgustingly good," he said on his Twitter page Thursday. "Thanks, E," the show's Twitter account responded. "Just riding this out until the singularity hits, you know?"

"The singularity for this level of the simulation is coming soon," Musk said. "I wonder what the levels above us look like. Good chance they are less interesting and deeper levels are better. So far, even our primitive sims are often more entertaining than reality itself."
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