Friday Funny – The ultimate in 'Range Anxiety' for @spacex

This week marked a spectacular achievement by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX; a mostly successful (they lost the core booster) test of the Falcon Heavy booster and recovery system, along with an insertion burn to put the payload ( A Tesla electric roadster in cherry red) on a Mars trajectory.

Some have criticized it as “nothing more than a car commercial” (Naomi Klein) while others have said all that’s been done is to add to the space junk problem. No matter how you see it, you have to admire the achievement, something no private company has ever done before.

Josh has his take on it:

For those who don’t know the term “range anxiety”: it is the term for the most common worry about electric cars.

Meanwhile, in other more down to Earth news:

Back to Earth: Tesla’s losses grow on Model 3 delays

The day after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk blasted his Tesla Roadster into space, his electric car company’s mounting losses brought him back to Earth again.

Tesla Inc. posted a record quarterly net loss of $675 million in the fourth quarter, up from a net loss of $121 million in the same period a year ago. The Palo Alto, California-based automaker is struggling to meet production targets for its first mass-market car, the Model 3 sedan. It’s also spending heavily on future vehicles, including a semi that’s supposed to go into production next year.

Tesla lost $1.96 billion for the full year, a record for the company and nearly three times its loss of $675 million in 2016. Tesla has never made a full-year profit since it went public in 2010.

Read more:

236 thoughts on “Friday Funny – The ultimate in 'Range Anxiety' for @spacex

  1. The payload was a Tesla? what on earth is going through their minds.
    A moronic idea, no doubt the brainchild of some soulless marketing clown.
    Why do SpaceX find it so difficult to do what has been getting done since the 60s?
    At least this one didn’t blow up I guess.

    • For tests, the normal payload is a concrete block of a suitable weight. It would not be usual to put a science payload on a test launch – it would not get insurance, for one thing.
      So they simply picked a cheap weight that they had readily available. And yes, probably the marketing people made a proposal…

      • Maybe it would have been better to open the payload for free, no guarantee, to any crowdfunding group that’s willing to test it. I wonder what the people would have done with it, possibly better then a concrete block or a car…

      • This wasn’t a cheap payload by any stretch of the imagination. In fact it was a very expensive publicity stunt. Huge waste of money IMO.

        • Well, if it was his money, then it is his money to spend. Or to “waste”.
          But “waste” is in the eye of the critic. Not the owner who is spending HIS money on a “deadweight” that had to be in the rocket to test the rocket and all engines and mounts and brackets and trajectories and power levels and controls.
          For that, shooting a Tesla is “way cool” .
          And no more of a waste of money than a “makes the HR department feel good about SJW’s in the HR departmrnt” SuperBowl ad. That alienates many stockholders, other people in the company, and millions of potential customers.
          Actually, much More effective than a SuperBowl ad for its intended audience (the employees at Tesla/SpaceX, other engineers and tech enthusiasts, and every potential customer with satellite loads), since we (and many around the world) are actually still talking about the Tesla, while nobody is watching the SuperBowl ads from last Sunday.

      • billw1984
        February 9, 2018 at 6:59 am
        It’s not like anyone was going to buy it anyway. About the same as a concrete block.

        Without a way to recharge (presuming it went up with a fully charged battery) once it completely discharges the car will be a BRICK
        So Concrete Block or Tesla Brick still the same

      • Very few rocket makers launch an active payload on the first launch of an untried rocket. Even Musk said that the test would be a success if the Heavy cleared the pad before blowing up. Usually,they launch water or concrete. The cost to harden the Tesla for launch was trivial compared to that of the rocket itself.
        And yes, with the space-suit mannequin in it, it was truly a “dummy” payload.

      • Apparently, it was Musk’s personal roadster. He now gets to deduct its value as a business expense.
        On a more serious note. I’ve not seen anybody comment on the space suit. Was the suit a mock-up or was it real? The design didn’t look familiar.

        • We understand (from the short description on the TV at launch) that the spacesuit IS a “real spacesuit” designed by the SpaceX company staff (not an old NASA wanna-be)- but it is not clear if it was a “hollow” suit and nominal facemask, or a full-up test suit with instrumentation actually able to hold pressure and a life within.

      • Maybe it would have been better to open the payload for free, no guarantee, to any crowdfunding group that’s willing to test it.

        The 2nd test flight will have various discounted payloads, such as a light sail from the Planetary Society.

    • Musk bricked his Roadster in the parking lot and did not want anyone to know. It is called hiding the evidence.

      • This.
        I’m more impressed with this than I was with the Space Shuttle. Especially the fact that those VERY ungainly looking boosters are able to land like the old Science Fiction rockets of old!!
        Shame they lost the Core booster though.

      • Actually, secondary boosters have been recovered to be reused for the entire (and late) space shuttle program. And these spacex boosters have a lot of dead weight for the orbital material, because they have to save fuel and carry extra control and landing mechanisms for their powered landing.These are not gliding space shuttles (and they lost the primary booster). I don´t quite grasp the milestone, the russian space shuttle supposedly could fly the entire mission on autopiltot (but alas! it never launched, so it´s more like advertising work, like this launch).
        Maybe if they introduced a giant rail gun to boost rockets/items into space we could see actual technological milestones for this guy´s e-diology.
        I personally think he did it now, to hide the tremendous losses(record) in Tesla and the more serious problems with his “automated” factories.

      • “These are not gliding space shuttles (and they lost the primary booster). I don´t quite grasp the milestone,”
        Recovering the booster rockets intact, without dunking them in the ocean, is a milestone. The more reuse of the equipment they can do, means they can launch cheaper than if they had to build a new booster every time they launch.
        It is quite a sight to watch the boosters land on their tails. NASA should have been doing this kind of development for years. Unfortunately, bureaucracies like NASA need a person with vision to lead, and you usually don’t get that out of a bunch of bureaucrats. But you do get that out of private companies, or else they go out of business.
        The person Trump wants for NASA administrator, Mr. Bridenstein, is a big promoter of private businesses in space. It’s good to see SpaceX making such good progress. It makes Bridenstein’s arguments more effective when he pushes for private enterprise in space.
        It’s a shame the main booster didn’t land intact on its barge. Did someone say the cause was it ran out of propellants before it landed?

      • “We” haven’t been recovering boosters, on land, since the 60’s. And the US, at least, hasn’t had this launch capability for years.

      • The Falcon core did not run out of fuel. It (as it were) ran out of matches to light the fuel. Which is to say, it didn’t have enough triethylaluminum/triethylborane to ignite 2 of the 3 engines..The core needed three engines to land softly. Only one of them lit.
        This (pyrophoric) mixture was also used to ignite the fuel in the SR-71 and the F-1 rockets of the Saturn V. They don’t load more of it than they expect to use, because it is NOT a friendly and cooperative substance. If it gets near any oxygen, it burns. Vigorously.
        Something similar happened early in the landing experiments: the core ran out of hydraulic fluid to control the paddles. This is why they call these launches and landings “tests”. They find the weak spots.Until they are fixed, you can’t really trust the system.

    • Actually, the second stage did not operate properly and the car is headed to the asteroid belt instead of Mars. The second stage also suffered a unintended disassembly when it returned to earth. (Read crashed and burned.)

      • The core booster did not return properly because they ran out of material to reignite the engines which, if accurate, can be addressed.
        The car is on a wider orbit because that stage, which is not the core booster, was fired until exhaustion rather than injection. They weren’t intending to put it in a specific targeted orbit, but to test the equipment to its limit.

      • ShrNfr,
        Thanks. My impression was that it was supposed to orbit Mars. Then in the reports it was headed for the asteroid belt. No hint that something went wrong beyond one of the three didn’t land.
        Not quite ready to risk a life on a Mars shot.
        But the pictures of a used Tesla (different company that SpaceX though both Musk) with a space-suited mannequin at the wheel?
        A fun partial failure.

    • Perhaps because they are trying to do it for about a tenth of the cost?
      And what, every rocket since the 1960s has performed perfectly has it? News to anybody who actually follows this stuff.

    • A question I have is about payload size. If the Tesla was the only weight in the vehicle, wouldn’t it be a poor test when the 64 tons isn’t in the payload? I’m pretty sure a Tesla Roadster doesn’t weigh that much. Did they have other weight for the payload to compensate?

    • @Mark – you have absolutely no sense of humor. Also, the Falcon 9 can put a heavy payload to orbit for $60 million. The Falcon Heavy can put three times as much weight up there, I believe, for $90 million. These figures are a fraction of what it cost our government to launch large payloads. The Dragon 2 capsule will be man-rated this year barring accidents, and will be taking Americans back to the space station a half-dozen at a time and returning them. All of this was developed in-house without government funding. Achievements to celebrate. It’s good to see Musk has something to smile about. Space X is his only venture making money.

      • “…developed … without government funding…”
        That is very unlikely since this is a Musk company, after all.

    • There is a report telling that SpaceX offered NASA and USAF the opportunity for a “free ride” on Falcon Heavy maiden launch, but they declined. So using his own roadster was done after he couldn’t find anyone willing to bet on first flight of a new rocket.

    • “We” haven’t been recovering boosters, on land, since the 60’s. And the US, at least, hasn’t had this launch capability for years.

    • Did you just hear about this, have you been living in a cave? Leaving your mark in the universe is very cool, and the car has a special laser disc with a digital archive, that documents humanity, should someone find it in the future. I think it is much better than sending up dead weight.

    • Does anyone know if this was a fully loaded auto or simply a shell less batteries/motors/drive train etc?

    • As an ex-Boeing engineer – and McDonnell Douglas before the merger – I can assure you this was a great success. I am stunned by 1) how much payload they lofted, and 2) that they recovered two of three cores. At McDonnell Douglas, I worked on Delta, Delta II, and Delta Clipper, an experimental rocket meant to demonstrate the ability to land boosters. It never made it to space – not sure it ever made it past 10’000 ft. IT blew up on its last test flight when one of four legs failed to extend.
      On Delta III, we did launch our first vehicle with a customer payload. We were confident that because we were merely building off of a proven rocket system (Delta II was about 98% successful) that there was low risk. That mission failed spectacularly, as did at least one or two subsequent missions. We at McDonD had serious mud on our face. Heads rolled. While we launched a few more D-III boosters – some with concrete payloads, the D-III was doomed. I think we built a total of 8.
      I’m not a fun of Musk or his Teslas. But I’m am very impressed with his rockets. I’m also impressed with his backbone. On Delta (including II, III, and IV), a large expense was all the Government “expert” agencies running around verifying that everything we did met with their expectations. On team was Air Force for military missions, the other was NASA for commercial and other non-military missions. Musk doesn’t ( or at least didn’t) accept that interference, and has been able to manage costs. Just letting Government look at your books is expensive, especially sine they demand frequent presentations, and segregated, large office spaces that dwarf those of actual engineering, including all the IT and special communications services and security.
      I remember way back when the old Hewlett Packard was asked to bid on some Government projects. Part of that bid was mandatory Government access to all their financials, to ensure they didn’t make excess profit. HP refused, merely sending them a catalog of the equipment they supplied. They were told they could order from the catalog. HP stated they couldn’t afford to have a small army of Government reps sticking their nose into every element of their company. A big fight ensued, which HP won. They were treated like any other customer. If you don’t like their terms, go somewhere else.
      I wasn’t there, but a lot of the old-timers related building the first boosters for the Air Force. AF was unhappy that Army had a lead, and gave the Douglas Company carte blanche to build a system quickly. There were several spectacular failures before that first successful booster was demonstrated. With that success, AF installed all their usual financial check systems. They were not going to be taken to the cleaners. Booster number 2 cost almost 10 times as much as that first successful booster, but AF was happy because they could prove they weren’t being cheated.
      Government help is expensive – incredibly expensive. Your company may not pay all of that expense directly, but it is still part of the cost to the customer.
      Cue Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

      • Thanks for that interesting history lesson, kaliforniakook.
        We are getting closer to “cheap” access to space than ever before, thanks to innovators like Musk and others.

  2. Tesla must be one of the few companies recording their success by how much they lose every quarter.

    • Uber, Twitter, Theranos, Lyft, Netflix, Blue Apron…
      A certain part of the market is “aspirational”; if you don’t like it, don’t contribute to it.

      • “aspirational” LOL! How true, how true! And you may get funded by some idiot or the government, but you can’t buy a cup of Starbucks with a pocket full of aspirations. That is not to say that Musk is an idiot. He is laughing all the way to the bank.

  3. It was a test which mostly worked well. That they used a TESLA to be part of the test payload to demonstrate the ability of the boosters to lift is great propaganda for a company that doesn’t seem to be able to make money building cars. As to the claim that the car will be there for millions if not billions of years, well time will tell. Maybe we will get a ticket from the Vogons for fouling up their right of way?

    • The claim it will be there for billions of years—fake news or science is dead, not sure which.
      The battery dies after 6 hours, so no more music from the Tesla. Watch out for those Musk batteries……

    • Also, the car is expected to be destroyed within a year due to degradation while passing through the Van Allen belt. But, yeah, there will be many parts of a Tesla in space for millions of years. It wasn’t built to withstand that environment. Satellites are a whole different tech from boosters.

    • The date of the [earnings] report last year was Feb. 22, and until 6 weeks or so ago it was expected that this year’s report would be in the same time frame.

  4. Landing the twin boosters synchronously was pretty cool, no matter what else you think about the Falcon Heavy test launch.

    • Is that a problem? Then entire Elon Musk comedy show is based on nonsense, but rich government and investors often buy nonsense. (That’s the explanation for the red roadster—cartoon company, cartoon payload, cartoon image.)

      • I see many people (outside WUWT) complaining about the Elon Musk’s silly stunt of launching a car in space.
        I see relatively few people (outside WUWT) complaining about the silly fiscal stunt of selling pollution rights, which may not even be counted as a subsidy-tax (depending on which side you are) by some people.
        That bothers me.

  5. Pity if it is on a trajectory to Mars that they didn’t go the whole hog and plan to parachute it down so that the lucky astronauts who eventually get to visit the red planet could use it for getting around. Wonder how many decades it would take solar panels on Mars to recharge the batteries?
    It would be much better if Musk spent his money on rockets, judging from the results, than electric cars for the elitist rich.
    How on Earth is a company making these losses still even in business?

    • How do they stay in business?
      Government subsidies help hugely. Further, bankers are generally very happy to lend to companies if they believe that governments will bail them out if insolvency threatens.

    • it was never intended to hit Mars, the orbit the car is now on is an oval shape with the sun at one focus and the outer limit of the orbit “relatively” close to mars.
      it will never hit mars. also, thanks to it being unprotected from the solar wind, it will be taking abuse while it’s traveling.

  6. Whatever you may think of Elon Musk and his love of tax credits and subsidies it would be a very dull and dismal world if people like him did not exist. Good for him.
    Imagine a world populated by Naomi Klein clones……….

    • Hear, Hear! You have to give Elon Musk the credit he deserves, at least for his rocket abilities. Good on him for proving private enterprise can also compete to orbit, once Gov’t did the heavy lifting the last 50 years in making the tech possible. Let private enterprise now compete to lob stuff up into orbit at the cheapest price possible. (No complaining about subsidies since far less than NASA) Now my mag lev rail gun has a chance to shoot ice bullets and aluminum ingots into space from my secret mountain hideaway.
      However, I do wish he would take my free advice and put a dedicated micro Turbine/ICE type generator in his electric car and reduce the same expensive battery weight so as it had unlimited range with no range anxiety. This obsession with Pure EV, all battery is not healthy and will lead to ruin. Plus his car would be cheaper and available to the masses while still running 90% of all miles on battery alone and alleviate the up front headache of installing all the electrical infrastructure for charging all pure EV. Hybrid of some sort is the only thing that makes sense presently except maybe for a very small short range runabout town car of some sort.

    • yes indeed!
      he has changed space flight from a government controlled set of projects to the wide west, giddyup boys.

    • the good thing is, we won’t be here to complain anyway.
      And you can bet those Noamis would excommunicate each other, and starve to death (talking and writing won’t help them grow or even find food)

    • Yes, Klein was disparaging about it, joining in with the bizarre people calling for space exploration to be done by “states, communities and united peoples”.

    • You are so right, Mr. Ward! I think his cars are silly, but launching one in lieu of a chunk of concrete was genius! And Funny!

  7. I read someplace that the Tesla will never make it to Mars, the cosmic radiation will cause it to disintegrate. That’s probable if it has a plastic body.

    • Anything organic (plastic, rubber, etc) will decay from radiation, but the metal should survive a long time. Not billions of yrs tho…

    • Natural destruction of man’s handiwork on a cosmic scale. now there will be particles of man-made petro-chemicals drifting about in the heliosphere, spoiling its pristine paradigm. I would have thought that they would send it spiraling into the sun so it gets properly disposed of.

  8. “Some have criticized it as “nothing more than a car commercial” (Naomi Klein)”…
    So, does Elon get to deduct part of this as a Tesla business expense? Of course, if your company is losing $1.96 billion a year, I guess you don’t pay any taxes anyhow.

    • Uh, guys, Tesla is one company, SpaceX is another. Tesla gets the subsidies, SpaceX gets paid for deliverying payloads.

      • Like the guy, or not, Musk “has got it goin’ on” and will be an icon of history, even if his world goes bust.

  9. something no private company has ever done before.

    OMG! The stupid is unbearable ;-( No private company whose entire business model is based on subsidisation – for (Snip) sake! Being great at getting rich on public money makes one a mountebank! It’s called – and rightly so – crony capitalism. Look at where every penny came from and you’ll see that it is out of ‘your’ own pocket.

      • Mark, seems like working for Raytheon or McDonnell-Douglas, etc meant you were probably working on a govt contract job back then. The difference I see is that Space-x has removed the NASA snag of multiple contractors having to cooperate under the auspices of a bureaucratic agency. They have much more control over the entire process from what I see and way more spirit as an organization.

      • How are the sanctions going? (now that France’s reputation and appeal in Russia has been ruined by these sanctions)

    • My father and his father before him were bankers*. It drives me to despair how ignorant and completely deluded – we all are now – about very, very, simple math ;-(
      *Not meant as an appeal to authority but rather as a statement of knowledge! Both were military officers, my grandfather was Brigadier in charge of finances for the allied forces in Japan after WWII, for example!

    • Scott, I understand that it was our money, but I would support 80% of climate change money be diverted to this private sector contractor who can encompass and manage the ‘whole ball of wax’ and avoid the bureaucratic black holes caused by dealing with multiple contractors. Now there is just one bid for the whole package instead of trying to coordinate all the low-bid contractors into a working team.
      I would liken NASA’s methods to the state U where I worked trying to be its own general contractor on construction projects. They were always more costly per sq ft than the projects that the capital development board let to general contractors. That was probably also because they were spending year-end money at the college, though.

      • ==>Pop
        What you say is probably true as it goes, however, NASA’s biggest supplier is now SpaceX! There was only one payload to orbit contractor previously and the reason for the creation of this new duopoly is that NASA had been forced to use Russian engines… Look it up – there is lots more to this 😉

  10. N. Tesla ended his days as a charity case boarded at a hotel in NYC at no charge. He did great things but spun out of control on later ideas that did not work and JP Morgan cut off the final flow of funds.

      • Tesla was a great genius, but like many geniuses he couldn’t accept that some of his theories might be wrong.
        No matter how brilliant you are, you have to look at the data with eyes wide open, at let it lead you where it will, even if that’s not were you wanted to go.

    • Morgan cut off the funds before Tesla could succeed or fail. The reason was that if he could produce power from the ‘ether’, Morgan would not be able to market it and make his cut. He was reported to have said something like “If I can’t put a meter on it, it’s not going to happen”.
      Had he been gifted with foresight, he might have realized the potential for manufacture of devices alone would assure him and his progeny of wealth, but it appears that greed and megalomania might have clouded his judgement. Tesla, instead of passing on his knowledge in a single deposition, reportedly distributed pieces of it to major world powers in hopes of a reassembly sometime in the future when the world powers act in concert to do so.

      • At least there’s not as much “space pollution”. I’d still have preferred it incinerated as it approached Sol. It would be really fun to watch using the SOHO coronal cameras.

      • Speaking of battery and drive train, that shaved considerable weight from the payload. Did the Dummy in the spacesuit make up for that, or would my ’95 Dodge pickup have burned up on re-entry?

    • I doubt the government would have allowed the Tesla batteries to be onboard, because if there had been an explosion their toxic (?) ingreidents would have contaminated nearby land.

  11. The Spacex adventures should be roundly admired. Good old American industry Can-do ingenuity and success is simply not possible anywhere else on earth and I venture to say never will be. The mere couple of dozen months it took a car company with an idea to attain world lead capability in space technology is astounding. Entire countries – North Korea, Iran, China… took decades with the technology handed to them holus bolus, and still cant quite get it right. Its not the brains. It’s the system that is open to optimum freedom to use your brains.
    Elsewhere, one is far too too circumscribed to even have such an “impossible” thought enter the mind in the first place. Were I a leader of one of the three countries mentioned, I would be struck dumb and in a deep depression by the realization of the enormity of the flea- elephant contrast between my country and the USA and would immediately declare no contest and get my inner circle together to figure a negotiated path out of totally fruitless conflict and see if I could trade being a nuisance for some of the magic. This power even gave us our oil industry and are, on top of it all, generous and forgiving to a fault. Heck, this mega power could get an automobile company to put a car through my palace window as a warning! Or land it in my parking lot between the Mercedes and the Rolls and between the yellow lines as a friendly, more terrifying demonstration.
    This should also send terminal depressive shivers through the EU/UN neomarxbrothers (and their lefty American admirerers) when they contemplate how puny and pathetic they and their Liliputian plans are. This is why America is hated by so many. Good job Mr. Musk.

    • Gary Pearce: I’m a Canadian and I couldn’t agree more. You have to hand it to the Americans when it comes to the audacity to try anything and make a success of most of their efforts. The rest of the world just seems to sit by and criticize from the peanut gallery.

    • “Its not the brains. It’s the system”
      Well you may be onto something.
      I do not want to minimize the achievement – now with Spacex or with many other industries, however one of the enablers is the dollar & the international monetary system. No other country can print money out of thin air in the amount the US can, due to the dollar dominance – which allows also giant companies ‘to print’ through debt their industries for decades.
      I wonder in what other country would Tesla be a viable company with its cash burning system?
      As said, I do not want to minimize the impressive technological achievement, just wondering that one needs a bit more then only can-do ingenuity.

      • Lars. you dont get it. They made the money too and a free enterprise system. Nobody gave America anything and they gave the world a modern technological society

    • Gary,
      Well said.
      Get Spacex to land a bright red, white, and blue Tesla with a big bow at the front door of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un as a peace offering. Provide instructions as to how to charge the batteries.
      Do the same with Iran.
      A true offering for peace. What’s not to like.

    • Agree w/you Gary Pearse. Seems like the electric car efforts aren’t going well, but the SpaceX effort is a stunning success. How many successful satellite launches and booster recoveries have there been now? Alot! SpaceX has even successfully launched & recovered previously launched boosters. AFA this Falcon Heavy demo, seems to me mostly a success. Musk himself might have some flawed ideas, but the SpaceX people are on the ball.

  12. Elon Musk promised to put the car in orbit around Mars. Instead it is now orbiting in the asteroid belt. That didn’t seem to bother Musk’s claims about success. It was either a Tesla roadster or a bunch of concrete blocks. His Tesla Motors company will likely charge Spacex $250,000 for the car.
    Musk is absolutely the cheapest liar on the planet.

    • It is most certainly not in the asteroid belt, and will never be.The asteroid belt is 329 Million – 480 Million miles from the sun.
      The car has not even exited the earth-moon system yet
      The Falcon heavy gave it enough extra delta V to make it to 158 Million miles from the sun (by mid-late November) at aphelion (furthest point of orbit) which makes it highly elliptical.
      It will never make it to the asteroid belt and wont actually orbit mars either.
      “It will pass within about 69 million miles of Mars on June 8 and cross the red planet’s orbit in July before reaching its farthest distance from the sun — about 158 million miles — on Nov. 19.”

      • It has exited the Earth-Moon system, having achieved escape velocity. It will come back near the Earth’s orbit radius periodically, but the Earth will not generally be there when it does.

    • The article I read said it would be in an elliptical orbit between Earth and Mars.
      I’ve never seen anything that claimed it would be in the asteroid belt.

    • “Musk is absolutely the cheapest liar on the planet.” Not sure if that is an insult or a compliment, but I think he was aiming for the asteroid belt since that is where the real money is. Getting to the asteroid belt takes a whole lot more energy than just getting to Mars, so he hit this one out of the park, so to speak. Good on Elon Musk and the good ole USA for letting in a South African Immigrant via Canada, (his mother is a Canuck) and letting him aim for the stars. Only in the USA would this be possible…

    • First, he never said the car would orbit Mars. It’s not really clear what he’s trying to convey. Here’s the line from his tweet:

      …The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit.

      There is an international treaty set up to keep other planets from being “contaminated” by Terran lifeforms. Since SpaceX had neither the time nor inclination to “sanitize” the roadster the objective was shifted. Even Musk has to pay attention to the FAA.

    • None. Unlike his ventures into electric cars and batteries, his SpaceX company gets no government funding. He has customers lined up around the block. This one will actually be profitable.
      I despise him for taking billions in taxpayer money to fund his Tesla projects, but I admire him for SpaceX.

  13. They had not one but three separate boosters firing with sufficient control and power to get into orbit. Then another burn to get to escape velocity and then some to get beyond mars, and then got two of the boosters to land up right a thousand yards apart, decelerating just seconds from the ground. The amount of power and control that all requires just boggles the mind I think the engineers who pulled it off deserve our congratulations and some major recognition!

    • They have succeeded in landing the main booster before, however from what I’ve read, the wind at the landing site exceeded design specs and they lost the main booster.

  14. Just imagine the results if someone would put this amount of engineering into “New Nuclear” such as Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, or “LiFTeRs”! Hope springs eternal ….

  15. Maybe if he wasnt distracted by putting cars in space he could focus on making cars and a profit. The last time I saw a similar distraction….BP wind followed shortly by BP Deepwater Horizon.
    Here’s the ball, keep your eye on it.

  16. Nicolai Tesla was the genius who invented the AC generator, wich Westinghouse put i production.
    Elon Musk is just a genius scammer.
    Is he paying the Tesla family for his abuse of the family name ?

  17. arthur4563 February 9, 2018 at 6:27 am
    Elon Musk promised to put the car in orbit around Mars.
    * No, he didn’t “promise” anything of a sort. He said he intended to put it into an elliptical orbit around Mars and the Earth. He didn’t “promise” to put the payload into Mars orbit.
    Instead it is now orbiting in the asteroid belt.
    * No, it’s is still on its way out toward Mars. It’ll be a few months before it passes Mars; then it will go into an elliptical orbit back toward the Earth. You don’t seem to have much of a grasp of the distances involved here.
    That didn’t seem to bother Musk’s claims about success.
    * the successes were many: harnessing three huge rockets, each with 9 engines, and having all of them work. Demonstrating that the Heavy was capable of launching huge payloads.
    Having two of those rockets—which had been used in previous launches—return and land simultaneously.
    NO ONE has ever done that. Why is it important? It can cut the cost/payload by as much as a factor of 10 vs.its closest competitor,the Delta Four Heavy.
    It was either a Tesla roadster or a bunch of concrete blocks. His Tesla Motors company will likely charge Spacex $250,000 for the car.
    * And you know this how?
    Musk is absolutely the cheapest liar on the planet.
    * where did he lie?

  18. …Where do I plug it in…?…
    Well, there’s quite a lot of charge floating around in space – Solar Wind and all that. Just park in the Van Allen belts….

  19. Regardless of your take on this launch, there is a very interesting YouTube video on a biarual 3D audio recording of the launch and booster recovery. Very cool. Recommended:

  20. Despite my skepticism of Tesla’s viability as a car company, I must admit to a sense of awe at Musk’s ability to achieve a technical goal I was doubtful of. The successful launch and recovery of the boosters was one of the neatest things I’ve every seen, almost up there with the Saturn V moon launch. Launching the car as a dead weight was just showmanship, but also very cool. Those two boosters returning to land near the launch pad really tops it all. So good it looked fake. Only complaint is that the damn batteries in the Tesla failed after only 4 hours!
    The question remains, will Tesla ever show a profit? Losses were $675M in 2016, a little better than in 2015. SpaceX is privately held so no numbers available on that.

  21. What was the point? This is just another stupid publicity stunt which went wrong, leaving an enormous amount of crap spinning in space. Some men have such HUGE EGOS.

  22. It cost $195 billion for our government to put a man on the moon and we didn’t get any of our boosters back. 2018 dollar equivalent.

    • …It cost $195 billion for our government to put a man on the moon and we didn’t get any of our boosters back. 2018 dollar equivalent….
      Columbus’ first voyage to America cost 2 million maravedis. That is variously estimated on the net to be between $1m and $250,000 equivalent modern money.
      Today you can do the same trip for around £200.

  23. Glad to see this.
    For those who think Musk is just a subsidy farmer, recall that he put his own Paypal fortune into SpaceX and Tesla, and at one point almost had to choose which company to save. If money was his driver he had a huge stack before he started.
    Secondly his declared strategy is to start out at the top of the market and work down, each new car paying for the next, The big losses at this point make sense during the ramp up to volume production from a luxury niche. How quickly did Amazon achieve profitability?

      • Tesla in its current form would not exist outside of public finance. At most he would be making a few very expensive cars for the very wealthy who wish to virtue signal.

    • Tesla received a $465 million government loan and also had large stock and bond offerings. That’s the bulk of the cash that Tesla is burning through.
      Note: the government loan was paid back with money from the IPO.

      • Reg:
        From the Tesla website dated May 2013 “Tesla Motors announced that it has paid off the entire loan awarded to the company by the Department of Energy in 2010. In addition to payments made in 2012 and Q1 2013, today’s wire of almost half a billion dollars ($451.8M) repays the full loan facility with interest. Following this payment, Tesla will be the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.
        For the first seven years since its founding in 2003, Tesla was funded entirely with private funds, led by Elon Musk. Tesla brought its Roadster sports car to market with a 30% gross margin, designed electric powertrains for Daimler (Mercedes) and had done preliminary design of the Model S all before receiving a government loan….”

      • John, I applaud the fact that Tesla repaid the government loan, something rare in the Green energy sector. My point was that Tesla didn’t repay the loan with operating cash flow. The IPO simply sifted the debt burden from the US government to private investors.
        Tesla (junk) bond offering raised $1.8 billion. How much has Musk personally invested in Tesla? A small fraction of that.
        What is the cumulative total of the tax credits that Tesla and its customers have received?

    • It doesn’t matter what he claims. What matters is what he does.
      Before each car can pay for the next, he has to first sell a car for more than it took to build that car.
      That is yet to happen.
      As to subsidy farmer, what part of the government paying thousands of dollars for each car sold do you not understand?

  24. It was pretty awesome and it did double as a car commercial. He would have been stupid not to get Tesla some publicity. The only thing that would have made it better would’ve been if Naomi Klein was in the passenger seat of the Roadster.

  25. I figure Musk intends to recover that car one day, and drive it around on Mars. What a triumph that would be. 🙂

    • solar EUV and xrays are going to disentegrate the carbon epoxy car shell and leather interior quite quickly. the metal frame and protected parts will last a long time – centuries to millenia.

  26. One of the things that people seem to be missing when comparing the “disposable” boosters of the 1960’s to these reusable ones is that the early ones were paid for by the taxpayer. Here Musk is paying.
    Now, that isn’t the entire difference, the control systems to do this are now much cheaper and better, but really, at the core, the different mindset is probably the real reason.

    • He should consider equipping each tank with emergency chutes and auto inflating flotation so He doesn’t lose more boosters or main stages

      • I’m pretty sure that at an impact speed of 300mph, flotation devices are completely irrelevant to survivability…

      • ripshin, I don’t know if the impact was 300 mph but the controlled recovery of the other 2 boosters created multiple sonic booms so their speed exceeded Mach 1.

        • MarkW

          Parachutes and flotation devices were how the shuttle’s boosters were recovered.

          True, true.
          But the shuttle’s solid rocket booster shells were just that: “Nothing” but the now-hollow, burned out steel shell, the parachutes and their floats. Everything else – all the way back to the assembly nuts and O-ring gaskets – had to be removed, cleaned, replaced and repaired. Then re-packed with new solid-rocket fuel and a new solid rocket expansion cone.
          There was nothing else.
          A liquid-rocket engine IS an entire multi-thousands gallon per second turbo-pump and turbo-booster and control system and nozzle controls and articulating hydraulics. Plus all of the lightweight aerodynamic structures and LOX and fuel tanks and pressurization systems and their computers and sensors and electronics- not a simple hollow steel shell.
          You CANNOT dunk that in saltwater after a flight and expect to get anything out of the water but a museum exhibit.

      • mando,
        According to Musk, the speed of the central core was around 300mph at impact with the ocean.
        Regarding the controlled descent of the two side boosters, it would be interesting to get a speed vs elevation chart. They detached at several thousands of kph, and had to decelerate through that same range of speed, so…yeah…sonic boom sounds about right.

      • RACook – thanks for explaining the difference between NASA recovering the solid rocket boosters, and having to rebuild them, to what SpaceX is doing. We don’t know how much refurbishment is required, but the two boosters recovered the other day at the Cape had already flown before, been refurbished to the extent needed, and were being reused.
        Yes, Elon is a master at PR, and some of the early SpaceX errors with the Falcon 1 were cringeworthy, but hats off to all of them for improving their game, quickly, and pulling off this truly unprecedented event.

  27. Do you think that being in Space, its a good place to get an awesome view of the stars? Ever since the moon landings and with this spaceX, why, why, why, are no stars visible.. its all fake!

    • Once again…
      No stars are visible because of the Shutter speed needed due to surface brightness. If you slow down shutter speed to try and image the stars, the surface brightness would overwhelm the CCD and you would have a picture of just brightness with no surface features visible and likely still no stars.
      The surface of the moon is about as dark as asphalt paving.
      Try this
      Go to your grocery store parking lot at night and lay down on the ground under the lit parking lot light.
      Look up…
      How many stars do you see? (3, 4, 5, 8??)
      Now take a camera and take a picture of the nighttime parking lot at an ISO speed to allow for the ground to look as bright as it does to your eyes.
      Now how many stars are in your picture? (hint zero)
      To image the stars from the hypothetical parking lot, your ISO speed would cause the Parking Lot Lights to overwhelm the camera CCD (imager)
      It is all about what you are trying to take a picture of and the Aplool Astronauts didn’t go to the Moon to take Pictures of Stars
      And the Moon Sufrace would be brighter than the Parking Lot Lights at night because those pictures were taken in Full Daylight

      • Here you go

        The cameras did not have any light metering or automatic exposure. Based on experimentation on earlier Apollo missions, exposure settings for the different kinds of expected lighting conditions were worked out in advance. The guidelines were printed for the astronauts on the top of the Hasselblad film magazines (shown below). The shutter speed was set to 1/250, and the f-stop recommendations were ƒ/5.6 for objects in shadow and ƒ/11 for objects in the sun. For some of the more important photographs, the astronauts utilized exposure bracketing, varying the exposures one stop up and/or down from the recommended setting, to ensure a good result.
        The focusing system was similar to a lot of consumer compact cameras of the era. The f-stop was kept relatively high (the lowest being ƒ/5.6). Combined with the wide-angle lens (60 mm) this results in a relatively large depth of field (increasing with increasing f-stops). This meant the astronauts only had to get the focusing distance approximately right to get a sharp image. Instead of an infinitely variable focus ring, it was divided into three preset positions: near, medium and far. Although not extremely accurate, it did the job.
        Again, the reason there are no stars in the images is that they didn’t go there to take pictures of the stars.

      • Craig, why do you need those details?
        It is obvious that an exposure that shows the car will not show stars, and an exposure that shows stars would show the car massively overexposed. Since the pictures do show the car (which is what they are intended to do) it is obvious that they will not show stars.
        The details of how that exposure is achieved are not relevant.

      • Here is a great image of an Astronaut orbiting a big blue marble. In the front end, small scale image you see the blackness of space, the bright blue Earth below and no apparent stars. But if you click through to the full size image and blow it up to it’s full size, you would be able to count over 50 faint stars…washed out by the brightness of the Earth in the background

    • It’s not fake. The stars are not really much brighter in space. However, spacecraft, spacesuits etc are very white – titanium oxide white. That is done to help prevent overheating. Getting the exposure right for brightly lit pure white objects, so that they don’t over expose means that you are not going to see stars in a simple, single exposure.
      Interesting thing to consider while thinking about star brightness: they are all very bright, som more than the sun, some less, but all bright. There are enough of them that you would expect them to appear side by side, overlapping as you look into the night sky, so wherever you look, you should be looking directly at the surface of a star. The whole sky should be as bright as the surface of the sun. But it’s not. Why not?
      Blame dust. Huge quantities of interstellar and intergalactic dust (and maybe dark matter) that are between us and most of the stars. The more distant the star, the more chance of dust between us. For the really distant star and galaxy clusters you have to peer through gaps in the dust clouds to see them.

      • Another reason is the vastness of empty space.
        The light source varies from a scant <100,000 miles accross for small stars to 432,200 miles for our sun to an astonishing 17,398,000,000 miles diameter for the largest while the space between is vast. Our nearest neighbor is 23,462,784,000,000 (23.5 trillion) miles away. A lot of empty space. While Andromeda is 12,904,531,200,000,000,000 (12.9 quintillion) miles away. A lot more empty space

      • Philip,
        You are referring to Olbers’ paradox.
        Dust between stars and galaxies doesn’t resolve it, the dust would be glowing as bright as the stars.
        In fact, the sky glows as bright as the surface of the sun but, due to the expansion of the universe, the temperature of the glow is red-shifted to 2.7 K.

    • Astronomer Philip Plait answers this well:
      “Bad: The first bit of actual evidence brought up is the lack of stars in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon. Without air, the sky is black, so where are the stars?
      Good: The stars are there! They’re just too faint to be seen.
      This is usually the first thing HBs talk about when discussing the Hoax. That amazes me, as it’s the silliest assertion they make. However, it appeals to our common sense: when the sky is black here on Earth, we see stars. Therefore we should see them from the Moon as well.
      I’ll say this here now, and return to it many times: the Moon is not the Earth. Conditions there are weird, and our common sense is likely to fail us.
      The Moon’s surface is airless. On Earth, our thick atmosphere scatters sunlight, spreading it out over the whole sky. That’s why the sky is bright during the day. Without sunlight, the air is dark at night, allowing us to see stars.
      On the Moon, the lack of air means that the sky is dark. Even when the Sun is high off the horizon during full day, the sky near it will be black. If you were standing on the Moon, you would indeed see stars, even during the day.
      So why aren’t they in the Apollo pictures? Pretend for a moment you are an astronaut on the surface of the Moon. You want to take a picture of your fellow space traveler. The Sun is low off the horizon, since all the lunar landings were done at local morning. How do you set your camera? The lunar landscape is brightly lit by the Sun, of course, and your friend is wearing a white spacesuit also brilliantly lit by the Sun. To take a picture of a bright object with a bright background, you need to set the exposure time to be fast, and close down the aperture setting too; that’s like the pupil in your eye constricting to let less light in when you walk outside on a sunny day.
      So the picture you take is set for bright objects. Stars are faint objects! In the fast exposure, they simply do not have time to register on the film. It has nothing to do with the sky being black or the lack of air, it’s just a matter of exposure time. If you were to go outside here on Earth on the darkest night imaginable and take a picture with the exact same camera settings the astronauts used, you won’t see any stars!
      It’s that simple. Remember, this the usually the first and strongest argument the HBs use, and it was that easy to show wrong. Their arguments get worse from here.”

      • Craig, this the central point you keep missing:
        “So the picture you take is set for bright objects. Stars are faint objects! In the fast exposure, they simply do not have time to register on the film. It has nothing to do with the sky being black or the lack of air, it’s just a matter of exposure time.”
        I used to take a few photos of the Moon and Sun, using a Celestron 11″ F10 Telescope, that are very bright which forced me to use the fastest shutter time the old camera had, the stars never show up even though I can see the stars with me eyes easily.
        I personally knew people who would use split second shutter speed to take pictures of the Moon, but take 30 minutes exposure with shutter saying open the entire time for faint objects like a Galaxy, stars show up well in them, sometimes there is bright star in the area of the chosen Galaxy that limits exposure time, otherwise the star will overwhelm the photo with too much accumulated light.
        You need to stop making a fool of yourself here, you are arguing with people who have real experience in this. I was with Richard Berry when he was taking LONG exposure times with his CCD camera and a 10″ F10 Telescope back in the mid 1990’s Table Mountain Star Party. Have his CCD Cookbook to learn how to make good images, that was indeed highly dependent on how you set exposure times in line with intrinsic brightness of the selected object and contrast factors.
        I used to have a 25″ Obsession Telescope that was too big to see the moon well since it was so bright! Had to use a 2″ variable polarizing Moon filter, to see it safely, even my homemade 10″ Off Axis was used to transform the F5 ratio to about F15 spreading the moon image out to make it look a lot larger and dimmer.

    • Sigh. Some of the other replies are good, I won’t parrot them. Craig, I imagine you have never tried to photograph a star yourself. Spend some time with that, and then you’ll have a better appreciation of the difficulty and the limit range of brightness cameras can record.
      Another good exercise is to look for Venus during the day time. I’ve done it twice, both times when Venus was bright, the air was dry and near lunar conjunction. You need to know where to look, and try to do shaded from the sun. Just finding the moon is difficult, but it’s a good stepping stone to Venus.
      Finally, consider what it takes to photograph a star. While a star’s surface is as bright as the sun’s, it appears to be a point source of light. That’s best utilized when focused on a single pixel – be it a silver halide grain or CCD cell. In any case, it won’t be a point, just the physics of lenses will see to that. So you’re dealing with a light flux far below the brightness of the sun, and that’s why we need time exposures of some of the recent super sensitive imagers.
      The thing that really blows me away is that human eyes can see stars. Some thing that small, lasts for a century or so, and can deal with everything from sunlit snow to thousands of stars and a few nebula. And it’s all thanks to several million years of evolution and natural selection. Amazing.

    • Craig, you apparently have no concept of exposure time coupled with the amount of light exposure.
      Earth is BRIGHT, stars are faint, thus camera has to have very short exposure time to have Earth be seen well. If Earth was dim, then a longer exposure time would pick up some of the brighter stars.

    • You also wouldn’t notice rotation because you are orbiting a planet at 17,000 mph or one orbit every 90 minutes approximately, you aren’t stationary. The Earth IS also rotating at 1000 mph so you are traveling far faster than the rate of rotation to notice it. Again, If you were stationary you would observe the Earth rotating very slowly (and yes relatively speaking) 1000 MPH is slowly turning for a body that is 24,000 miles in circumference. If you were stationary though, you would need a constant thrust of around 1G to maintain your altitude or Gravity would pull you back down before you were able to observe the rotation.

      • It was not supposed to be in orbit around the earth,, heading towards Mars right? Where are the land masses?? The earth looks fake.. CGI

      • I read from the Deimos sky survey that the payload is tumbling, apparently faster than the video from payload. I wonder if the video is slowed down to some 10% of real time. Also, the payload spent some time in a parking orbit, that and the wide angle lens will further reduce the motion of the Earth’s surface. Finally, the part of Earth both best lit would be over the southern Pacific – lotsa water, very little land.
        It would be nice to know more about where the images were recorded an the orbit at the time. Perigee would be no higher than the cutoff point in the boost phase, apogee would likely be much higher and hence the payload slower than a circular orbit. That and the rotation of the Earth would greatly slow down progress relative the surface of the Earth.
        Need more information.

      • Craig
        I do see land masses but mostly I see cloud, which is normal, look at the weather satellite views; or do you think they are CGI as well?
        If someone wanted to do CGI it would be trivial to show a cloud free earth. Look at SpaceX’s own CGI it has stars and continents which apparently are what you need as proof it is real.

  28. In engineering terms the range limitation is easy to solve. On long journeys just hook up a trailer with a generator. Most of the time you won’t need it, but if you ever decide to drive cross country you can, You don’t even need to own the trailer since you won’t need it most of the time. Just rent as needed.
    But Tesla won’t use this extremely practical and workable solution. The Tesla doesn’t even have a tow bar let alone the electrical hookups that would be required to do this. The problem is it clashes with the marketing. The Tesla is being sold to rich virtue signallers; people who want to show the world that they are not only richer but also better and more virtuous than everyone else. A trailer, especially one with a CO2 emitting generator, isn’t part of the image.
    The roadster is a two seater sports car, not the most practical of vehicles at the best of times. A lot of fun to drive no doubt, but you’ll need another car. Most people who buy one will have a more ordinary car for those ordinary trips.

  29. The real funny out of this was a post on Facebook by the author John Ringo.
    “Dear Mister Musk:
    “It has come to our attention that the Tesla Roadster, VIN ///, that was reported as ‘lost’ on your insurance claim has been found. While currently unrecoverable, the vehicle is nonetheless in a known, if continuously moving, location. Therefore, your insurance claim has been denied.
    Thank you for using Progessive.
    PS: Nice try, asshole!

  30. Would like to see the face of the next civilization roaming the Earth in 1 million years when they find the Roadster 🙂 with their first space exploration missions…

    • The Tesla won’t spend a million years in space – or even a thousand. In 400 years or so, some asteroid miner is going to find it and bring it back home to display in they Museum of Luna City or Marsopolis.
      And why launch a car into space? WHY NOT! Yes, it’s a stunt. It’s a stunt that is great advertising for Tesla, great promotional material for science, and perhaps even a way to get kids interested in STEM degrees. And it’s exactly the sort of stunt that we might have expected from the P.T. Barnum of the 21st Century.
      I love it.

  31. When will he give back the money he stole from California by committing a fraud on the state and claiming to have fast battery swap station running?

  32. As usual with Elon Musk, all hype little substance. The Falcon Heavy is supposedly “state-of-the-art” but it’s inferior to the old Space Shuttle. Falcon can deliver 53 tonnes to Low Earth Orbit but the Space Shuttle Orbiter weighed 109 tonnes, more than twice. Falcon produces 3.8 million lbs. thrust but the Space Shuttle produced 5.6 million lbs. Even the ‘ancient’ Saturn V produced 7.89 million lbs. in 1967. But Elon succeeded in getting rid of his Tesla Roadster junk permanently

    • That alone would explain how these rockets could still contain enough fuel and LOX to land themselves with retro-rocketry. Up-scaling to achieve larger payloads might be difficult, given the weight of extra fuel, LOX and necessary structural enhancements to the vehicle to contain the increases. Part of the weight that could be propelled into orbit is tied up in the fuel for the braking and landing burns.
      We are stuck here still without a much denser source of propulsion (or a better understanding of the space-time continuum?).

      • That alone would explain why no rocket engineer tried rocket propulsion for braking and landing. It’s wasteful consuming lot of fuel. You trade off payload for fuel. They all knew it from Tsiolkovsky in 1903 to Goddard to von Braun to Burt Rutan except Elon. That’s why he’s a ‘genius’

      • As pointed out by J Mac (above) this is not the first attempt to build a rocked that works like this.
        Basically any reusable space launcher is going to be heavier and more expensive than a non-reusable one; however, if you can reuse it enough times it is a better deal.
        Personally I like the aircraft launch idea, but that is partially because I am British and launching a space rocket from Britain would not work very well.

      • DCXA was an experimental rocket. Why didn’t they commercialize it? Because they don’t have Elon Musk who don’t mind exploding rockets as long as it’s cheap. BTW the Space Shuttle Orbiter was reusable and also the SpaceShipOne of Burt Rutan

      • Dr. Strangelove
        Plenty of things did not work well the first time they were tried but became common after a bit of technical progress. There was politics involved as well, see
        Space Shuttle Orbiter was reusable, but just like the the SpaceX rockets it was heavy and expensive compared to a disposable rocket with the same payload. It only really made sense if you wanted to bring something back from space. Also it is now out of use.
        SpaceShipOne is sub-orbital and so completely useless for lunching satellites.

      • It didn’t work because it’s a bad design to begin with. Between 1968-1972, Saturn V launched 10 manned missions to the moon with zero rocket explosion. 38 years later after all the technological innovations. Between 2010-2015, Falcon rocket launched zero mission beyond Low Earth Orbit with 8 failures or explosions. That’s one giant leap by Von Braun and one step backward by Elon Musk. And fans think he’s a great innovator LOL He builds cheap rockets that explode

      • Dr. Strangelove said:
        “Falcon can deliver 53 tonnes to Low Earth Orbit but the Space Shuttle Orbiter weighed 109 tonnes, more than twice.”
        I don’t get that logic. What’s impressive about launching way more stuff into space than what you need, at a massively inflated price, if you can’t save money on the reuse of that stuff?
        That’s the trick spacex are pulling/

    • Thanks Ric. Somebody suggested SpaceX purposely burned the final stage empty to get the largest possible orbit.

  33. Nice to see someone do something, although I’m not so happy to see a taxpayer subsidized roadster wasted——to say nothing about the wasted launch.
    But let’s be clear. This booster has about one half the power of the Saturn 5 (developed in the 60’s), and although the cost is a lot less, one would hope that we could improve SOMETHING after 50 YEARS.
    As for the car, I expect a 10-times improvement in a car touted to be next generation—which we do not see. The thing is that Musk is great at integrating old technologies others developed while pretending he’s accomplished something (but only after collecting billions from taxpayers). An electric car that I would consider buying would be using a fuel cell (probably solid oxide) that can be refueled using a traditional gas station and that can drive from coast to coast on a tank full of fuel.

  34. SpaceX is already working on the successor to the Falcon Heavy – the BFR (officially Big Falcon Rocket, but the real name is obvious). The BFR is expected to be able to lift 150,000 kg to LEO (Low Earth Orbit). The Saturn V could put 140,000 kg into LEO. Compared to practically every other puny rocket in the below list of launchers, the BFR and Saturn V are/were in a class by themselves.

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