Innovation

Musk Reads: Crew Dragon makes it

Crew Dragon successfully docks with the ISS and an ‘Impractical Jokers’ star reveals how he would prank Elon Musk.

Crew Dragon successfully docks with the ISS and an ‘Impractical Jokers’ star reveals how he would prank Elon Musk. It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #173.

Musk quote of the week

“This event is something that all of humanity can get excited about. It’s just a fundamentally positive, good thing, and I think we need more good things in this world.”

SpaceX Crew Dragon

Liftoff! SpaceX successfully launched the Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. Eastern time. The capsule was carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the first two people to fly in a SpaceX vehicle. The launch was originally scheduled for 4:33 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, May 27, but it was called off minutes beforehand due to poor weather conditions. The launch starts a new era of NASA astronauts flying from the United States to the International Space Station. Read more.

At 1:02 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, the pair docked with the station. They joined NASA’s Chris Cassidy, as well as Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from Russian space agency Roscosmos. The capsule docked autonomously with the space station – no need to put the simulator training into use – where it will stay for an as-yet-undetermined period of between one and four months during the pair’s stay. Read more.

The launch is a landmark moment for commercial space flights. Peter Beck, CEO of California-based firm Rocket Lab, told Inverse last week that NASA “did exactly the right thing” with the Commercial Crew program. Beck explained that he believes “human spaceflight to the space station should be commercial” as governments are best at “doing things where there’s no financial incentive to do it,” while commercial enterprises will “probably” tackle tasks outside of those areas “better, cheaper, faster.” Rocket Lab is quickly establishing itself as a key player in the new space race, having launched 48 small satellites since its founding and caught an orbital rocket in March 2020. Read more.

In other Musk news…

  • SpaceX Starship is designed to take us to Mars and back – here’s how. Read more.
  • Impractical Jokers star and Tesla owner James Murray tells Inverse why he thinks Musk is “pranking the rest of us.” Read more.
  • Musk’s partner, Grimes, has taken to calling their newborn child “Little X,” she told Bloomberg. A slightly easier name to say than “X Æ A–12.”

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX’s next mission will send the eighth batch of 60 Starlink satellites into space, bringing the total number of non-test craft launched to 480. Teslarati reports that the next mission is currently scheduled to take off at 9:25 p.m. Eastern time on June 3. The Falcon 9 booster used in the mission is expected to land after launch on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions. The mission could also feature the new sun shade that may help reduce the craft’s visibility, but it will take a few months to understand the effects of changes like these. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Eleda Towle writes:

In rural Maine, our only internet options are DSL through the phone company (max speed 3.0Mb) or HughesNet, which has high latency and very limited data plans. We have a hard time streaming anything or loading any web pages that include video ads. I run an e-commerce business, and uploading photos is a big time-sink. We’d really love to get in on the public beta of Starlink when it’s available! It would help our family-owned small business a lot! Any word yet on a way to sign up, or at least get Mr Musk’s attention to perhaps get on the list?

Chris Millikin writes:

I am waiting for this to finally come into service. Since I live in rural Montrose, Colorado and will be buying a new homestead soon with my VA home loan; having a reliable and dedicated internet connection “out in the boonies” is essential. Being a disabled combat veteran and needing reliable communication is essential! If there is a specific sign up for the service it would be greatly appreciated.

There are a lot of SpaceX fans eager to try out the Starlink beta service. While Musk stated at the end of April the team would be hosting a beta service in around three months from then, he has since given little in the way of follow-up information. A public beta test, which sounds like it would host a broader range of people, is expected for six months from that date.

Chris and Elida both raise an important point: Thousands are without good quality internet access. It’s these people, rather than those well-served by fiber optic and the like, that will benefit most from Starlink. Inverse spoke with some of the Americans that want Starlink, and the message was clear: Existing infrastructure has failed them, and if Starlink means a fast and reliable connection, they’re ready to take the risk with Musk.

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

Video of the week

Crew Dragon docks with the ISS.

Got any photos or videos you’d like to share? Feel free to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #173, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

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