All posts in “Spacex”

The Air Force is trying to figure out a response to Elon Musk’s pot smoking

Elon Musk might be hearing from the Air Force about a certain podcast appearance.
Elon Musk might be hearing from the Air Force about a certain podcast appearance.

Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

It turns out the Air Force isn’t quite sure what to make of Elon Musk’s pot smoking either.

No, the military hasn’t launched a formal investigation into the SpaceX CEO. But it is trying to figure out how to respond to Musk’s latest antics.

After setting the internet ablaze following an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which featured Musk taking a single hit off a spliff, questions have been swirling about whether or not said hit would have any negative consequences for the man or his businesses.

These questions kicked into high gear Friday, when a Fox Business reporter tweeted that the Air Force was looking into Musk’s actions, potentially putting his government security clearance at risk.  The Air Force later clarified that while it’s evaluating the situation, there is not, in fact, an investigation.

“It’s inaccurate that there is an investigation. We’ll need time to determine the facts and the appropriate process to handle the situation,” a spokesperson told The Verge.

Pretty much everything Musk says or does makes headlines, so it’s not surprising that his momentary joint-smoking on Rogan’s podcast is quickly turning into its own news cycle, too. Despite the fact marijuana is legal in California, and that all the pot-shaming really isn’t cool anyway, Musk’s actions could have serious implications for SpaceX — at least in theory. 

That’s because SpaceX has contracts with the U.S. Air Force, which has markedly different stance on marijuana than Musk. As others have pointed out, people with security clearances are prohibited from using marijuana; partaking in any way could lose you your clearance. Which brings us back to Musk.

The fact that the SpaceX CEO openly smoked while on Rogan’s show could potentially create problems for the company’s government contracts, the thinking goes. 

Of course, the Air Force hasn’t actually said anything of the sort yet. It’s only confirmed that it’s aware of the situation and attempting to figure out a response. Regardless, it seems this could turn into yet another major buzzkill for Musk.

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Diver attacked by Elon Musk as “pedo guy” is prepping a libel suit

A British cave diving expert who helped save the young Thai football team that got trapped in caves this summer is preparing a legal action against Elon Musk for making “false and defamatory statements”, TechCrunch has confirmed.

BuzzFeed reported the development earlier, after obtaining a letter sent to Musk’s home on August 6 by a firm representing the diver, Vernon Unsworth.

The background here is that in a highly offensive and extremely bizarre episode last month — even for the famously ‘loose cannon online’ Musk — the Tesla and SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to attack Unsworth, branding him a “pedo guy”.

The bizarre attack came after Unsworth had given a critical interview to the media saying the mini sub which Musk had designed and brought to Thailand “had absolutely no chance of working”. Unsworth ended an interview segment by suggesting Musk should “stick his submarine where it hurts” — a tongue-in-cheek phrase which apparently triggered Musk’s Twitter outburst.

Facing a backlash over his comments about a man who had successfully helped rescue the boys, Musk subsequently deleted the offensive tweets and quasi-apologized for slurring Unsworth in a further set of tweets, on July 18, though these were only posted within a Twitter thread, rather than being broadcast to his ~22.4M Twitter followers.

At the time Musk said Unsworth’s comment had angered him, and that had made him lash out, but he also added: “Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.”

The public element of the episode might have ended there but earlier this week Musk dredged it all up again by repeating his offensive insinuation against Unsworth during a debate with ex-TechCrunch journalist Drew Olanoff — who had brought up the “pedo guy” attack as an example of Musk himself telling untruths.

Yet instead of reiterating his apology to Unsworth, Musk doubled down on his original offensive attack — writing: “You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me? He was offered free legal services.”

To which Olanoff replied: “What I think is especially strange here is that you’re wondering why he hasn’t sued you while the rest of us are wondering why you did something so egregious that he could sue you for in the first place.”

We contacted the law firm for confirmation that it is representing Mr Unsworth in a defamation suit against Musk. Partner Lin Wood was unavailable to speak about the matter when we called but he confirmed via email that the firm is representing Unsworth in a defamation suit against Musk, and that it is preparing a legal action.

In the letter sent by the firm to Musk’s home earlier this month Wood informs Musk he has been retained by Unsworth on account of the defamatory statements made by Musk on Twitter alleging that he is a pedophile.

Wood also writes that he is preparing a civil complaint of libel and invites Musk to contact him “in an attempt to avoid litigation and to see the public record corrected”.

It’s not clear whether or not Musk had seen the letter at the time of his tweets to Olanoff.

We’ve reached out to Musk (via Twitter) for comment on the legal action and to ask whether he will be withdrawing his repeat allegation against Unsworth. We’ll update this story with any response.

The Tesla CEO’s erratic behavior online has caused other high profile headaches for his companies in recent weeks, after he tweeted about taking Tesla private — triggering wild swings in the stock price and scrutiny (and potential problems) from the Securities and Exchange Commission, only for the idea to be nixed weeks later.

The associated risks for shareholders in a public company whose CEO uses Twitter as a weapon to indulge personal spats and feuds — and to spitball major business decisions — without, apparently, any thought for the legal and reputational consequences for him or his companies, are hard to quantify but equally difficult to deny.

SpaceX lands Falcon 9 booster on Just Read The Instructions drone ship

SpaceX confirmed on Twitter this morning that it recovered the booster from the latest Falcon 9 launch. Shortly after launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California at 7:39AM ET this morning, the booster stage landed on the Just Read The Instructions drone ship. The company will now try to catch the rocket’s fairing with a giant net attached to the ship Mr. Stevens.

SpaceX has become more adept at landing its booster rockets but it’s still a spectacle every time it happens. This landing is extra special as the winds were gusting around the time of the launch.

The rocket company has so far been less successful with catching the payload shrouds. SpaceX’s high-speed recovery boat Mr. Steven took to the seas this time around with a larger net in the hopes of recovering the fairings. Reusing as much as possible is critical to SpaceX’s mission to lower the cost of space flight.

Today’s launch was SpaceX’s seventh mission for the company’s client Iridium who contracted with SpaceX to launch 75 satellites into orbit. According to SpaceX, today’s payload of Iridium satellites so far deployed without an issue. SpaceX is contracted for one more launch with Iridium.

Developing…

SpaceX hyperloop competition reaches record-breaking speeds

Hyperloop technology just broke another record.

SpaceX hosted its third Hyperloop Pod Competition on Sunday, and the fastest looping team broke the 240 mph world record set by Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One last year.

The winning team — a group of students from the Technical University of Munich — got its pod to travel at 284 mph.

“We’re excited to announce that our team WARR Hyperloop is the winner of the 2018 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition!!!!!” the team wrote on its website after the competition. “We’d like to sincerely thank all our sponsors! This journey wouldn’t have been possible without you!”

The team said its pod travelled almost 50 percent faster than last year, and its model went more than three times faster than the second place team this year.

Elon Musk, the hyperloop tsar himself, even reportedly attended the competition held at SpaceX’s 0.8-mile test track in Hawthorne, Calif. (a Los Angeles suburb) with his five children and Canadian musician Grimes, his current girlfriend.

Although his presence was not expected, it’s not surprising that he would attend.

This all fits his self-proclaimed useful narcissism brand very well, since the competition (which stems from his 2013 white paper on this new form of transportation) celebrates Musk while still working to help decrease long distance travel times.

His goal was to make the travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles a measly 30 minutes — it currently takes about 90 minutes by plane, and this new hyperloop record would make the commute just over 80 minutes.

The hyperloop pods must travel at more than 750 mph to achieve Musk’s half hour California dream, which as of right now probably remains many pod generations away. So while we’re about 480 mph off, students are leading with speed to reach that goal.

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Elon Musk is donating a lot more money to the GOP than he is to the Dems

Someone send a submarine to rescue Elon Musk’s reputation.

It turns out the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has donated seven times as much to money to Republicans than Democrats since the beginning of 2017, according to Federal Election Commission data reviewed by HuffPost

Overall, Musk gave $88,900 to Republicans and $13,300 to Democrats, including more than $50,000 to a fundraising committee run by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who doesn’t exactly hold the most enlightened views on climate change. 

That’s pretty strange company for Musk to keep, considering how deeply he purports to care about our climate. 

What’s Musk’s reason for donating so much money to the GOP? Days ago, the CEO attempted to defend himself against reports he gave nearly $40,000 to Protect the House, a political action committee that’s trying to maintain Republican control of the House, by explaining that the recipients of his donations would be “willing to listen” to him.

Yes, without those donations, Republican lawmakers would see Elon Musk’s name come up on their phones, roll their eyes, and ignore the call of a man worth around $20 billion. 

But now Musk has access. He can call up Republicans and say, “Hey, maybe don’t separate small children from their families?” Apparently, that’s a better way to spend your money than, you know, helping the campaigns of Democrats who might replace them. 

If the Democrats lose the midterm elections, it would be an absolute disaster for pretty much everyone except men like Elon Musk. The GOP has shown no desire to actually stop Trump’s train of incompetence and corruption, because, well, tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks. And if it keeps going at its current pace, no amount of humanitarian spending can undo the damage the party can unleash with another four years in power. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Elon Musk, in the grand tradition of wealthy men who love their money but don’t want to feel bad about it, classifies himself as an “independent.”

Figures.

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