Musk Reads: Video shows Starship SN9 slo-mo explosion

Tesla buys bitcoin and Neuralink wires up a monkey’s brain. How can private citizens fly on SpaceX’s planned flight?

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Tesla buys bitcoin and Neuralink wires up a monkey’s brain. How can private citizens fly on SpaceX’s planned flight? It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #233 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers found out what it was really like at the Starship SN9 launch. This week, Axiom Space director of in-space manufacturing and research, Christian Maender, details how the firm will move from private citizen space flights to building an entire space station.

Don’t miss out — new members receive instant access to our ever-expanding archive, future premium issues, and much more. Subscribe to Musk Reads+.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Time to tell the story of Tesla & SpaceX.”


Boom! SpaceX sent the Starship “SN9” prototype to a height of 10 kilometers, only for the ship to subsequently come crashing back to Earth. In an impressive video, space media team Cosmic Perspective captured the explosion in a slow-motion video.

Although the mission ended in flames, the firm is expected to try again with “SN10” within a month — all working toward the goal of creating a rocket that can send humans to Mars and back. As the host of the livestream said, “we've just got to work on that landing a little bit.” Read more.

Want to fly on a future SpaceX mission? The “Inspiration4” mission will send up four private citizens no later than the fourth quarter of 2020, the first all-private spaceflight. One passenger will be 37-year-old Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments. Another will be for someone with ties to St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. The remaining two seats on the flight are being given away in a competition, with the winners announced in March. An ad during Sunday’s Super Bowl drew attention to the plan. Read more.

Want to find out what it was like for Cosmic Perspective at the Starship SN9 launch? Check out our exclusive story, available with Musk Reads+.


Tesla has bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin, an SEC document revealed Monday. The firm also announced in the document that it “expect[s] to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future.” The move follows an increasing number of posts from Musk on Twitter about the cryptocurrency. During his February appearance on Clubhouse, Musk said that “I am a supporter” of bitcoin.

Tesla would be one of the biggest names to accept bitcoin payments for its products. Video game developer Valve previously accepted bitcoin for its Steam online store but stopped accepting payments in December 2017, citing high transaction fees.

Tesla started production at its Shanghai Supercharger facility last week. The factory, expected to produce 10,000 Supercharger stalls per year, was announced in August 2020. The firm has over 20,000 high-powered chargers installed worldwide.

In other Musk news…

  • Neuralink, the human-brain linkup firm, has wired up a monkey’s brain to enable it to play video games. Musk revealed the breakthrough during a live-stream event on the Clubhouse social network. Read more.
  • SpaceX looked on the verge of setting a new record for time between launches, as it planned to host two Starlink launches at different launchpads with less than six hours between them. Unfortunately, the company had to ultimately delay the launch at Space Launch Complex 39A for further inspections. Read more.
  • “Starlink-18” launched as expected on Wednesday. Musk shared a fantastic photo of the Falcon 9 rocket soaring past the Moon. The launch helps to build out the Starlink constellation designed to offer high-speed internet access. Read more.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #233, 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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Musk Reads+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find newsworthy, giving you the inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means firsthand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more.

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A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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