All posts in “hyperloop”

Watch SpaceX launch NASA’s latest exoplanet-hunting satellite

SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket today during a 30 second window at 6:32pm EDT. Onboard is NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) designed to find exoplanets. SpaceX said this morning there’s an 80 percent chance of launching today. Following the launch, SpaceX will attempt to recover the Falcon 9 rocket and nose cone by landing the rocket on a drone ship and using parachutes to slow down fairings before they hit Atlantic. SpaceX’s high-speed net boat Mr. Stevens is still in the Pacific.

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The livestream is set to begin at 6:00pm EDT.

The satellite onboard uses four cameras to hunt for exoplanets around stars. They measure tiny dips in a star’s brightness that could indicate a planetary body passing in front of the camera’s line of sight. This is called a transit. Mission officials have said that this satellite will likely find thousands of worlds during its two-year mission.

The Falcon 9 used in today’s mission has never been launched before though if it lands successfully, it will be reportedly used in a future mission. This rocket is also the final block 4 version before Tesla starts using block 5 versions with upgraded engines and improvements to increase the reusability of the rocket.

Elon Musk’s latest SpaceX idea involves a party balloon and bounce house

Elon Musk took to Twitter Sunday night to announce a new recovery method for an upper stage SpaceX rocket. A balloon — a “giant party balloon” to quote him directly — will ferry part of a rocket to a bounce house. Seriously.

If anyone else proposed this idea they would be ignored, but Elon Musk lately has a way of turning crazy ideas into reality.

It was just in 2012 that SpaceX launched and landed its first rocket and now the company is doing it with rockets significantly larger. And then early this year SpaceX made a surprise announcement that it would attempt to use a high-speed boat and large net to catch part of rocket. And it worked after a failed first attempt.

This isn’t the first time a balloon has tried to be used to return a rocket. Legendary programmer John Carmack’s rocket company attempted to use a ballute in 2012 to return a rocket body and nose cone. It didn’t work as planned and according to officials at the time, the rocket made a “hard landing” around the Spaceport America property in New Mexico.

Just like SpaceX’s self-landing rockets and its giant net boat, the goal is to reduce the cost of launching rockets by reusing parts. It’s unclear when this latest plan will be implemented but chances are SpaceX will at least attempt it in the coming future.

Elon Musk deletes own, SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages after #deletefacebook

Elon Musk apparently wasn’t aware that his company SpaceX had a Facebook page. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO has responded to a comment on Twitter calling for him to take down the SpaceX, Tesla and Elon Musk official pages in support of the #deletefacebook movement by first acknowledging he didn’t know one existed, and then following up with promises that he would indeed take them down.

He’s done just that, as the SpaceX Facebook page is now gone, after having been live earlier today (as you can see from the screenshot included taken at around 12:10 PM ET).

As of this publishing, going to any of the above pages directs you to a message saying “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now” instead. That’s a quick turnaround, since Musk seems only to have found out these pages existed about 20 minutes prior to his taking them all offline.

Musk also responded to another comment on Twitter regarding his own and his companies’ prolific use of Instagram, which is of course owned by Facebook. The prolific entrepreneur noted that Instagram was “borderline,” since FB’s “influence is slowly creeping in,” but it seems like he’s okay with maintaining that presence for now.

Prior to their deletion, both the SpaceX and Tesla pages had over 2.6 million Likes and Follows, and super high engagement rates. You have to wonder whether Musk’s social media management employees cried a little when these went down.

Developing…

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. flamethrower ships in time for summer BBQs

Elon Musk raised a significant chunk of money for his tunnel boring venture, the aptly named Boring Company, via sales of a heavily marked up ‘flamethrower’ with Boring Co. branding. Those pre-sales are all concluded, but now people who put down cash to reserve one are finding out when they can get their flame on.

In an email to pre-order buyers, The Boring Company noted that the technically “not-a-flamethrower” production run should be wrapping up this spring, which means deliveries can be expected at least in time for “summer party” time. That’s good because people definitely need this fire generating device in time for the dry summer months, when forest fire risks are highest.

Another tidbit from the note to buyers: Customers can expect terms and conditions to be signed off ahead of shipments, which should be heading out in the next couple of weeks according to the company. The Boring Co. notes that these will be “rhyming,” and I presume they mean that literally – but they probably also have the serious purpose of making sure Elon’s corporate lawyers can once again enjoy something resembling sleep when these go out to customers.

Based on the shipping schedule of The Boring Company hat, which (full disclosure) I did buy (I did not buy the ‘not flamethrower’ flamethrower), if you ordered these you can probably still expect to wait a few more weeks if not months.

Elon Musk gets permission to do a little digging for his Hyperloop

Image: peter parks/AFP/Getty Images

It’s been far easier for Elon Musk to send a rocket to the Mars than move a pebble in Washington, D.C.

That could be changing, according to The Washington Post. The SpaceX entrepreneur’s tunnel digging company, The Boring Company, recently received vague permission to do some exploratory digging at 53 New York Avenue NE.

Musk is hoping to build a high speed hyperloop between New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and D.C. The loop will be capable of moving passengers at very high speeds thanks to depressurized tubes and magnet-levitated pods. 

The digging site could become a hyperloop station, though plans remain mostly theoretical at this point.

“We’re just beginning, in the mayor’s office, our conversation to get an understanding of what the general vision is for Hyperloop,” John Falcicchio, chief of staff to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, told The Washington Post.

Musk’s permit was the only good thing to come out of Trump’s infrastructure week. So. Yay.

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