All posts in “travel”

Why pedal when this electric bike can do it for you?

E-bike technology isn’t exactly new — we’ve seen multiple scattered across the Internet for a few years now, all claiming to be the best. But there’s one issue that engineers can’t seem to get past: range anxiety.

For long-distance travelers, the ability for an e-bike to stay up and running for a significant number of miles is the number one factor when making such an investment. 

A team from Ukraine has been working since 2015 to solve this dilemma, and they didn’t just beat the previous distance limit — they obliterated it. We’re talking about a distance limit that can compete with an electric car. Meet Delfast, the Kickstarter funded e-bike that can go for 236 miles on one charge.

Yep, you read that right: You can ride this puppy for 236 without a single worry. With a max speed of 35 miles per hour, the traveling possibilities are seriously endless. The best part? It’s not necessary to be in excellent physical shape to use this bike to its full potential. The three different modes allow you to pedal to your heart’s desire — whether that means doing all the work yourself or doing none at all.

This bike’s technology is actually pretty insane. It has a 3,000-cycle smart battery with energy recuperation technology and the bike’s massive screen shows useful information like charge and speed, and is visible in any weather condition. Oh, and it also connects to a bluetooth controlled mobile app. 

Here’s Delfast in action:

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Delfast comes in multiple colors and deliveries start in May 2018. Back the project here.

Elon Musk wants SpaceX to fly you anywhere on Earth in under an hour

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Everyone agrees, the worst part of long-haul travel is the time it takes to get from one place to another.

In Elon Musk’s update of SpaceX’s Mars plans at the International Astronautical Conference on Friday, he unveiled the company’s plans for the BFR — its largest vehicle yet.

While the BFR’s primary goal is to get to Mars and the Moon, Musk explored the possibility of being able to use the vehicle to get around the world really, really fast.

A trip from Hong Kong to Singapore would take 22 minutes, compared to the 4 hours it currently takes on a plane. The time savings, according to SpaceX’s slightly tearjerking video, seem to get exponentially higher the longer you travel. 

Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 minutes (currently 6.5 hours on a plane), London to Cape Town takes 34 minutes (otherwise 11.5 hours), or the world’s longest flight at 16.5 hours, Doha to Auckland, reduced to a mere 45 minutes.

“If we’re thinking of building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, why not to other places on Earth as well?” Musk said.

It’s not the first time an idea like this has been floated: Virgin Galactic have been talking about this for years.

Of course, there’s something to be said about the environmental impact of rockets, if planes weren’t bad enough already. Then the economics of low patronage, high-speed travel, something which became plainly obvious in the case of the now defunct Concorde

Although on the latter, Musk seems to have it covered: “Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft,” he wrote on Instagram. 

Part 2

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Sep 28, 2017 at 11:56pm PDT

Breakfast in Sydney, lunch in London, and dinner in Cape Town. Let’s hope the jet lag won’t be too bad.

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Elon Musk wants to get humans to Mars by 2024

We always knew Elon Musk was an ambitious guy, but now he’s taken it up a notch.

At the International Aeronautical Conference in Adelaide, Australia on Friday, Musk presented his goal to get to Mars by 2022 — before preparing for a human crew in 2024.

“That’s not a typo. But it is aspirational,” Musk said, upon revealing his plans. 

How Musk plans to do it is by not only via reusable rockets, which is the core of SpaceX’s model, but also focusing the company’s efforts on developing an even bigger, fully reusable vehicle. 

That vehicle has been codenamed “BFR” (for Big F*cking Rocket) and is slated to replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. 

“If we can do that, then all our resources for Falcon 9, Heavy and Dragon can be applied to this system,” Musk said. 

BFR will be 106 metres (347 feet) tall, 9 metres (29 feet) wide, and have a 150 ton payload — five times the amount of the Falcon Heavy, the company’s current largest vehicle. 

Construction of the BFR will start next year, and Musk said it’ll be funded by revenue from launching satellites and servicing the International Space Station.

Getting to Mars

For Mars transit, there will be 40 cabins in the BFR. Musk said these cabins will ideally fit two or three people, which means there will be roughly 100 people per flight. Reusable tankers will be sent to orbit to refill BFR, enough to get it to Mars.

In 2022, Musk hopes to land at least two cargo ships on Mars, which will find the best source of water. This is in order to build a propellant production plant on the red planet, which will be constructed when two crewed ships arrive in 2024. 

A base will be built, and “over time, terraforming Mars and making it a nice place to be,” he said.

To the moon and back

SpaceX’s “BFR” will also go to the moon and back, and unlike Mars, will need no propellant production on the lunar surface. 

That means “BFR” can do return lunar trips, with only a refuel midway there. It’ll allow the creation of Moon Base Alpha, or some sort of lunar base. “It’s 2017, we should have a lunar base by now,” Musk said.

Musk also shared computer generated imagery of what Moon Base Alpha would look like via Instagram.

Using the BFR for travel on this planet

Musk’s “one more thing” moment was the prospect of using the BFR for international travel here on Earth, cutting long-haul flight times to around half an hour for most destinations, and anywhere in under an hour.

“The great thing about going to space is there’s no friction … it’ll be smooth as silk. No turbulence, no nothing,” he said. 

“If we’re thinking of building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, why not to other places on Earth as well.” 

Yes, there’s a suitably inspiring trailer to go with the vision.

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Of course, SpaceX isn’t first with this vision of point-to-point travel via low orbit. Virgin Galactic brought this idea to mind way back

But the key advantage Musk is dangling appears to be the cost, which “should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft” per seat, according to his Instagram post.

Musk also admitted in his keynote that the Falcon Heavy, which is launching at the end of the year, was “a more complex project than we thought.” Given this, and that SpaceX has yet to send any human to space, whether BFR will live to Musk’s big aspirations is anyone’s guess.

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